Wednesday 29 March 2017

'He'll fall, I'll win' - cocky Conor McGregor ready for big championship decider with Jose Aldo

UFC fighters Conor McGregor with a Brazilian female fan Heloany Guimaraes.
UFC fighters Conor McGregor with a Brazilian female fan Heloany Guimaraes.
Featherweight world champion, Jose Aldo pictured at the Convention Centre
UFC fighters Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo seen meeting fans and signing autographs as they leave thier hotel,on their way to the Dublin Convention Centre for press interviews

He's the most charismatic superstar to come out of Dublin 12 since Philip Lynott.

Yesterday afternoon, fans of Conor McGregor began assembling outside the Convention Centre to let the Dubliner know they reckon he's going to become UFC World featherweight champion when he meets Brazil's Jose Aldo in Las Vegas in July.

Not that McGregor needs convincing. He's confident. He believes. He's there already. As far as he's concerned this crucial decider is a done deal.

He's fought it in his head so many times, he just knows it's his destiny to lift the glittering belt and be hailed King of the Knock-out, Oligarch of the Octagon.

While the fans shivered outside, McGregor and his opponent were surrounded by a ravenous media pack. It seemed everyone wanted a bit of the action. Everyone wanted to figure out what makes McGregor tick. And, of course, what the stern-looking Brazilian thought of his Dublin opponent.

With Aldo's translator failing to inject any sense of excitement into the champion's studied, low-key responses, the crowd around McGregor would erupt with laughter as the Dubliner proved his acerbic insight and colourful wit would be a match even for Brendan Behan.

It isn't just the fact that he's a dangerous fighter, or has an answer to every question, that is making McGregor the sport's most bankable star. It's also the way he tells 'em.


Jose Aldo

The expression "It's showtime" could have been coined for this 26-year old. How's Conor going to beat the more experienced man who's only been defeated once in 26 UFC fights and has already successfully defended his title an impressive six times?

"We'll exchange one or two, I'll hit him, he'll wobble, he'll get loose, he'll shoot in a panic, I'll hit him again, he'll fall and I'll win," says Conor, his strategy and tactics pouring out in a torrent of cold, hard reasoning.

"He comes in sloppy against me, I'll tip him across the temple or anywhere across the skull, and he goes down."

This media gathering resulted in another bravura performance by a bloke who, if it wasn't for his monstrously deformed cauliflower ear, might be mistaken for just another natty hipster in search of a cappuccino and a free wi-fi zone. He's been professional since 2008 and knew his way around the inside of a cage since long before he got to fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

So Aldo's greater experience doesn't faze him.


Conor McGregor

"The fact that we've both been through wars and I have not been scratched will tell the difference," he states unequivocally. "Every single fight, he comes out busted up. There's only so much the chin can take before it gets hit by someone like me and it gives. He will definitely be out on his feet within the first four minutes. It will be a formality after that."

Beginning in Rio de Janeiro on March 20, the UFC promotion caravan has rolled through seven cities before arriving in Dublin yesterday. UFC is helping make McGregor a global superstar.


He's helping make UFC popular with a whole new discerning audience. What we're witnessing is the creation of a sporting and cultural juggernaut and, in McGregor's case, it's one with a conscience.

He had a message yesterday for those who say this title fight has a spiteful grudge match quality about it. Of course, McGregor has been winding up his opponent with his antics but Conor dismisses suggestions that he actively dislikes Aldo.

"I'm having fun with it," he explained. "I'm here for the gold and the money. This is prize-fighting. I don't care about an opponent. It could be anyone."


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