Conor McGregor has issued a public vote of confidence and thrown his support behind the return of Ronda Rousey.
Last week, UFC president Dana White announced the former UFC bantamweight champion would be returning from a self-imposed exile after her loss to Holly Holm last November.
A lot has changed in the 12 months since we last saw her in the Octagon. A year ago there was a fairly evenly-contested debate as to who the biggest star in the UFC was between Rousey and McGregor. That debate might rage on but what is not in doubt is who the biggest pay-per-view draw is. That’s McGregor by a landslide having headlined two of the biggest selling PPV’s in UFC history with UFC 196 and UFC 202.
McGregor can relate to Rousey having come back from his own defeat to Nate Diaz at UFC 196 with flying colors, not only securing a win in the rematch but in the process silences all his critics. Speaking to Sports Illustrated, McGregor sent Rousey a message who now has the opportunity to do the same.
“I’d tell her to go shut them all up now,” McGregor said. “Shut them all up. Go and stake your claim again. I wish Ronda nothing but the best. It’s good to see her back. Some people take defeat and losses a certain way. You see how some fighters take losses. I’m happy she is ready to go again and I wish her well.”
“Go and shut these people up now,” he added. “Go and get what you began back. I’m excited to see how it unfolds.”
McGregor has his own battle to deal with as he takes on Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 on November 12th in New York City and attempt to become the very first simultaneous two-weight UFC champion. Rousey returns the following month in the promotion’s year-end spectacular with an immediate title shot against current champ Amanda Nunes. That fight is set for UFC 207 on December 30th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.