Danny O'Connor (30-3) will return to the ring after a five-year hiatus in Boston, Massachusetts. The popular O'Connor returns at super-welterweight and faces Luis Garcia (13-1-1) over eight rounds on the Promotions 360 card headlined by Callum Walsh and broadcast live on UFC Fight Pass.
O'Connor says he is returning to right the wrongs of his career, highlighted by his dangerous weight-making attempt against Jose Ramirez in July 2018. Danny was to challenge Ramirez for his world title; however, instead of facing Ramirez in the ring, he was rushed to the hospital instead with severe dehydration.
"The send-off that I got was not making weight, kind of, you know, getting into the thing that I've worked for my whole life, to be able to win a world championship belt to bring back to the city of Boston, and having it slip through my fingers. And, you know, everybody will remember it when they hear about it, but I have to think about it every day. So for five years, I basically built myself up brick by brick and did all the work that I needed to do to get healthy for myself and my family, with my life, with all with the thought of the idea that I wanted to come back, and be able to get that prize finally."
O'Connor then elaborates on the situation and aftermath of his worrying plight following his failed weight-making attempt and how it led him into a dark place requiring professional help. Ultimately, O'Connor is now in a much better place and is grateful to have an opportunity to achieve his goals as a fighter and as a husband and father, too, most importantly.
"I won with Claggett, which set me up, and then I was gonna face Jose Ramirez for the WBC, in California. And I got dehydrated, and paramedics took me to the hospital. I missed the fight. That was like an accurate snapshot nationally of what happened, but I'm responsible, you know, I robbed Jose of an opportunity to support his family and fans. And, you know, I didn't play the role of professionalism for the business and for the promoter. However, that was a snippet that you saw, you didn't see the weeks today and the months before and the turmoil that I was in; unfortunately, it unfolded as a rock bottom at the highest level. But fortunately, it gave me the ability to say I need help I need, I need to seek professional help. And I did that because you weren't dealing with a sport anymore.
"It wasn't about a polished belt that I could put in my trophy case. It was about my life, being the man, husband and father. I needed to be doing that internal work. So ultimately, I had to seek professional help. I had to get help for my eating habits and for my personal issues, which revolved around a career of being with a scale and a weight. Right. And so these are the things I had to rebuild before I could even return to the sport.
I didn't even know if I'd be able to come back, you know, I mean, and ultimately, I did all that work that needed to be done, I built a new me, I got a new coach, I got in the best shape of my life right now. And I had to do all that without knowing if I'd have the opportunity or chance to return. And then, finally I got the chance i needed, and I couldn't have scripted this better than being able to come home after five years. I haven't been home since I left five years ago (Boston). So this is a really special occasion for me, it's emotional. To be able to fight my comeback fight here at home, I couldn't have scripted this better. It really is. I've had a lot of incredible moments in boxing. A lot of tough moments that I've had to overcome and grow. There is a lot of really incredible moments too. This moment however, tops them as one of the most special.
"I was simply thinking to myself daily during those dark times, 'What the fuck am I doing?" You keep putting one foot in front of the next, and eventually, you get there, and then, like how the spiral goes negative and they keep spiralling. The same thing is positive. Once you gain that positive, it starts rolling. Yeah. And then, you know, for me, all credit to God. Everybody can relate, but nobody walks in my shoes and knows what I went through. I don't think I would have been there without that."