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Conor McGregor has addressed his recent comments regarding UFC bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley.

McGregor took aim at O’Malley in the aftermath of Ryan Garcia’s apparent positive test for at least one banned substance (ostarine) in the wake of his surprise win against Devin Haney last month — the same substance that O’Malley tested positive for in 2019, prompting a six-month suspension from the UFC’s prior drug-testing partner USADA.

O’Malley responded to the furore by suggesting that he would be open to a showdown with McGregor in the cage, despite previously admitting that the Irishman has been a key influence over his career.

But in a live stream with Duel Bits, per Championship Rounds, McGregor elaborated on his relationship with O’Malley.

“You know, I like Sean O’Malley — I do actually like Sean,” McGregor said. “I’d just seen the disrespect of Garcia, coming in overweight, real lackadaisical with it, multiple pounds overweight, and then testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

“It just reminded me of the situation with Sean and he kind of got caught in the crosshairs. He also said something like he’d beat me. Not in his wildest dreams — but I do like Sean.”

McGregor added: “I bumped into him at a football stadium and he was being influenced by this influencer boxing approach where it’s pick and choose your matches. He said he wouldn’t fight people above his category. I went and seen him when he was in this mode and I said to him, ‘Are you the best? Are you the world champion? Because if you’re world champion, who cares who it’s against? You should go until you’re the champion — fight everyone and anyone at any given moment. That’s what I’ve done.’

“Since then, he went and fought Petr Yan, he fought ‘Chito’ Vera, Aljamain Sterling. He done it and he showed it, so I was happy with that. It is what it is. Whatever. You can’t be cheating and using performance-enhancing drugs in competition. O’Malley, he has been nice to me, and I know I motivated him to probably take up this career, as I’ve done to many people. So you know, we’ll figure it out.”