5:37 PM PT -- Conor also says he was targeting a July fight against UFC stud Justin Gaethje, but he hurt his left hand during a sparring session which screwed up the plans. He was also asked who he wants to fight now ... and Conor said he's got his sights set on Khabib but says "I'm not gonna wait around."
5:12 PM PT -- During the interview, Conor also addressed the incident in Miami -- when he was arrested for snatching a man's phone and stomping on it on front of a hotel.
Conor says the man was NOT a fan, but rather a "heckler" who had been antagonizing him that night. Still, Conor admits, "I was in the wrong" in that incident too.
Conor says he's trying his hardest to change and be a better person. When asked directly if he has an anger problem, Conor was cagey but said he's working on being a better man.
"I need to just stop reacting to the bait, people are trying to bait me into things."
Conor McGregor is finally apologizing for sucker punching a man in the head at a pub in Ireland ... saying, "I was in the wrong."
The UFC superstar is speaking out 1 week after TMZ Sports posted video of the incident ... telling ESPN's Ariel Helwani that there was no excuse for his behavior.
"I mean, in reality, it doesn't matter what happened there. I was in the wrong. That man deserved to enjoy his time in the pub without having it to end the way it did."
McGregor says that he made amends with the man shortly after the April bar attack -- which happened to be a dispute over his Proper 12 whiskey.
While at the pub, Conor poured shots for patrons at the Marble Arch in Dublin ... and threw a punch at the victim when he turned down the offer.
"And, although five months ago it was, and I tried to make amends, and I made amends, back then, it does not even matter. I was in the wrong."
McGregor continues ... "I have to realize that's not the attitude or the behavior of a leader, of a martial artist, of a champion. So, I must get my head screwed on and just get back in the game and fight for redemption, retribution, respect."
Conor clearly wants to move on from the incident ... but Ireland cops tell TMZ Sports they are still investigating the attack and could bring criminal charges.
As for the victim, he told the Irish Daily Star that Conor is a "bully with money" ... and claimed he wanted to drink his Guinness in peace.
Conor also addressed his fighting future, saying he's NOT retired and when asked if he'll fight before the end of 2019, he says that's the goal.