McGregor, he said, is wealthy beyond most people’s wildest dreams. But according to Smith, all of that money can’t buy the former two-division UFC champ what he wants most: acceptance by his peers.
Smith responded after McGregor appeared to mock him and fellow UFC commentator Belal Muhammad, who incorrectly said during the UFC Vegas 42 broadcast that Max Holloway was the first to defeat former UFC featherweight titleholder Jose Aldo instead of McGregor.
“This is the second time that Conor’s come at me, and this one is not even my fault, and I don’t give a sh*t what Conor thinks about me, but I don’t know why he’s taken aim at me twice,” Smith said on SiriusXM’s Fight Nation, which he co-hosts with R.J. Clifford. “But as I thought about it, I think I figured it out. Conor has been uber, uber successful. He’s made more money than he could ever spend. He’s made true, like, generational wealth. Like, his kids’ kids’ kids’ kids are going to be just fine because of the things that Conor’s accomplished. What Conor can never get back, is he’ll never be one of us again, and it drives him absolutely crazy.
“He used to be one of us. I found myself sitting at the desk wondering, like, does Conor miss what it felt like to be in the gym and just be one of the guys? Because he’s alienated himself from everybody. Like, I’ve been around him a little bit. I don’t know him. But I’ve been around him, and he was one of the guys, and he kind of sold out, and he starts taking shots at people, and he kind of sold his soul for all that money. And that’s fine if that’s what you want to do.”
McGregor’s attacks on social media have escalated in the time since his loss this summer to Dustin Poirier in their trilogy at UFC 264. Several fighters have opined on the ex-champ’s mindset only to be dragged into the fray. Smith didn’t hold his tongue about McGregor’s behavior following his most recent loss, saying the Irish star was offering excuses for the result of the fight, a doctor’s stoppage when he suffered a broken leg.
Every one of McGregor’s tirades has generated a headline, which some have said is part of the point – the ex-champ resents not being the center of the conversation. But Smith believes it goes deeper than that.
“I think sometimes it’s less about him wanting to take shots at people and be that guy,” Smith said. “I think that it eats him alive that he’s never going to be one of the guys again. He’ll never fit in in our group. He’s not one of our peers anymore. And it’s not because we kicked him out and didn’t want him. It’s the total opposite.
“We wanted Conor to be one of us, and he alienated all of us, and now he wants back in, and we’re not going to let him in, because he sh*t on every single one of us. It’s the comments he makes. ... he wants the whole world to think that he’s the cool guy and we’re not, when in all reality, in our, like, private situations and in our small world, he’s the outsider. He’s the one that no one’s letting back in.”
Smith, who’s won his past three UFC bouts, is on the mend after suffering a leg injury that scuttled a possible rematch with Aleksandar Rakic. McGregor, of course, is still recovering from a broken leg and believes he’s ahead of schedule for a comeback he hopes will include a fourth fight against Poirier.