Conor McGregor has been the face of the UFC even though he has not been active.
The two-division champion carried the sport to elevated audiences. He is now a businessman and has moved on from what have been the best fights of his career.
Two of those came against Nate Diaz, who is fighting YouTube star Jake Paul in a boxing match Aug. 5.
Paul has made a name against fighting former UFC fighters. He defeated Ben Askren, former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and legendary fighter Anderson Silva. He even knocked out Askren and Woodley.
Ahead of the bout, Conor McGregor has switched his tone against Diaz, a former rival. Here is what he said in a conversation with journalist Ariel Helwani.
“It's competitive, but it's always been respect,” McGregor said. “How could you not respect the Diaz brothers (Nate and Nick) and their resume in the fight game?
“I spent almost over a half an hour, 40 minutes inside a cage with the lad. There's always going to be respect off of that. And he gave me the rematch instantly. That's commendable. That's real, warrior stuff.”
Paul is perceived to be annoying by McGregor and combat sports legends. He started boxing fellow entertainers and has since embraced a professional boxing career.
He suffered his first loss against Tommy Fury, the younger brother of WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, via split decision Feb. 23.
Paul is looking to recover against Diaz, who has had a boxing style in his MMA career. His boxing debut will be against Paul.