EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. --Odell Beckham Jr. says UFC star Conor McGregor provided "late inspiration" for the New York Giants receiver's history-making performance Monday night.
Beckham attended UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden during the weekend where McGregor beat Eddie Alvarez in the main event. Beckham insists it helped Monday night when the Giants beat the Cincinnati Bengals21-20 and he caught 10 passes for 97 yards and a touchdown.
When Beckham hit 69 yards in the second quarter, he became the fastest to 3,500 receiving yards in NFL history. He did it in 36 games. San Diego Chargers legend Lance Alworth previously held the record, as he reached 3,500 yards in 37 games.
"I set the bar high for myself. I kind of had some late inspiration," Beckham said. "I went to the UFC fight and I went there to watch McGregor and just a guy who is very strong in his beliefs and sure enough, he backs it up every time. Just sitting there watching him do his thing gave me more motivation.
"I had seen that I needed however many yards it was to break that record [for quickest to 3,500 yards], so really that stuff is kind of secondary right now. We are 6-3; I haven't been 6-3 since I have been here, so this is a good feeling."
Beckham had 10 catches on 11 targets Monday night. It was a season high in catches, and the 90.9 reception percentage tied a career best.
"I usually go to things like that for inspiration. I like seeing guys in their atmosphere," said Beckham, who was seen at several Cleveland Cavaliers playoff games watching LeBron James earlier this year. "Even when I was going to the US Open and I was watching them play tennis, it is just something about seeing someone else in their own zone and sure enough, after he won the fight, that was my first UFC fight ever and everybody is tweeting at me asking me why am I mad that he won. I am like, 'I came here to see him.' My mind is just wired differently."
"So when I am sitting there watching him and I had this blank stare on my face because there are just so many thoughts going through my head, so I definitely got a lot of inspiration going there and watching him win, double champ and sure enough we came out and we won [Monday], so it has been a pretty good week."
Beckham even got to meet McGregor on Saturday. He posted a picture on Instagram of the stars' meeting.
"It was cool. It was a fun experience," Beckham said. "It was the first time I had been there and everyone took care of me."
Two nights later, Beckham took care of his own business. He helped the Giants win their fourth straight game.
Beckham started this season slowly. He didn't score a touchdown until the final minutes of a Week 5 loss in Green Bay. He's scored five touchdowns in the four games since.
After setting all sorts of receiving records in his first two professional seasons, Beckham is on track for another monster season. He's 10th in catches (54), seventh in yards (773) and tied for fourth in touchdowns (6).