LEE McGREGOR is well accustomed to the party lifestyle that’s everywhere you turn in Las Vegas. 

On his last trip there, accompanying his great friend and training partner, Josh Taylor, as Taylor became the undisputed light-heavyweight champion of the world, McGregor made sure he got a taste what Las Vegas is so famous for. 

Nights out and pool parties were the order of the day back in May but on his current trip to Vegas, things have been very different. 

This time, McGregor is there to prepare for his latest title defence of his European bantam title. 

In just over three weeks’ time, McGregor will attempt his second defence of the belt, this time against Narek Abgaryan, and he admits the impeding fight night has ensured this trip has been considerably more serious than his last visit. 

“I've been getting some good sparring in so everything is going well,” he says. “It’s been a great experience and I’m really soaking it up. It’s really improving me as a fighter. 

“This time there will be no celebration parties though; it's strictly business

“I'm training as hard as I always do and I'm getting ready for December 18th to be the best version of myself.” 

McGregor has something of a point to prove when he steps into the ring in Manchester next month. 

He has built himself quite a reputation in his four years as a professional and while he remains unbeaten, his last outing shook him in a way none of his other pro fights have. 

It was a particularly surprising turn of events considering his previous outing, to win the European title, was a mightily impressive first-round defeat of Karim Guerfi. 

Despite ultimately managing to keep a hold of his European belt in August, McGregor was floored for the first time in his career when a shot by Frenchman Vincent Legrande left him reeling. 

The 24-year-old may have got back up to retain his title but perhaps even more important than the victory was the lesson imparted. 

“The Guerfi fight was so impressive and a bit of complacency set in for Legrande,” he says. “I’ll never overlook anyone but for Legrande, I didn’t feel the same fear factor. 

“I had all that for Guerfi whereas I just thought I was too big and too strong for Legrande. 

“I learned you can’t overlook anyone, especially at this level. 

“(My coach) Ben Davison made the point, I’m building my reputation and everyone is coming to give their best because they know you’re a champion on the verge of big fights. 

“You can’t be complacent. It gave me a little scare and I definitely won’t be doing that again.” 

There has also been a significant development out of the ring for McGregor this month, with the announcement he has signed with Eddie Hearn’s promotional company, Matchroom, and the media company, Probellum. 

It says much for the talent of McGregor that he has the biggest names in the boxing world fighting for his signature, with the Edinburgh fighter already having given a thought to a potential rematch with his compatriot, Kash Farooq. 

The first edition of the McGregor-Farooq story resulted in a narrow win for McGregor in 2019 but in the two years since, there has been an almost constant clamour for a rematch, and McGregor is as keen as anyone to see it happen. 

“It's no secret that the Farooq rematch is looking likely in 2022 if we both come through our next fights. It's one that gets me so excited and gets me up in the morning pushing through those hard training sessions,” he says. 

“I’m a much better fighter than I was back then, I believe he’s a better fighter too. “I’ve learned so much in that space of time, it’s crazy how much I’ve improved.  

“It was tough but I’m glad I came through that because it gave me the kick I needed to get more knowledge about nutrition and become better educated. 

“I was doing things I thought were right but definitely weren’t – walking about dehydrated for a week and things like that. But I wouldn’t change any of it because I am where I am today because of these setbacks.” 

McGregor may only have eleven pro fights to his name but he has long had his sights set on challenging for a world title. 

Naoya Inoue is the current unified bantamweight world champion and while McGregor admits he is desperate to have a shot at the Japanese great, he may have to force himself to exercise patience for once. 

“I believe I am ready for the world stage but I’m in no rush,” he says. 

“These things are life changing and if it’s going to change mine, I wouldn’t hesitate. 

“But I’m not deluded. I know I need a bit more time as I’ve only had 11 fights. 

“I saw Inoue in Glasgow (in 2019) and he’s a devastating puncher and a great fighter. 

“I’d be in the wrong game if I said I’d expect to lose, no matter who is in the opposite corner and it’s no different with him. 

“I know I need a bit more time to be ready for these massive fights, though. 

“But I want to be challenging for work titles the back end of 2022.”