Conor McGregor knows what he wants: Prior to last night’s bout against Dennis Siver, during which the fast-talking, quick-fisted Irish UFC featherweight bloodied his opponent with a burst of left kicks and punches before sending him to the ground and earning a TKO with a sharp-elbowed onslaught, his gaze was already set on the forthcoming featherweight title bout set to take place in Belfast this May.
“When I say something’s going to happen, it’s going to happen,” the 26-year old McGregor told Maxim last month. “I said I’d beat my previous opponent in less than two minutes, I said I’d be fighting for the title in my home country. Siver isn’t a roadblock, he’s not even an issue.”
He was right: The outmatched Siver stood no chance. And the always-cocksure McGregor, the most exciting UFC fighter to debut in years, made him look silly from the outset: flipping him the bird instead of touching gloves at the match’s start. McGregor, who turns from jester to junkyard dog when the bell sounds, mugged for the camera and backed up every claim he'd made while barely breaking a sweat. The crowd of more than 14,000 at the TD Garden in Boston, including many fanatic Irish flag-wavers, lapped up the antics.
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“Am I cocky? Hell yes I’m cocky,” the 6’1'' fighter told us. “Even when I was a kid, everything I had was the best. Even though I grew up poor and had a shitty car, to me my car was the most amazing car on the road, my clothes were the most amazing clothes a man could wear. But that doesn’t mean I’m satisfied; it means I want the best.”
McGregor is the voice the UFC needs, a smart, smug character who brings a crackling, antagonistic WWE-style personality to a sport so devoid of true talkers. “Giving people shit is one of my best tactics," he says. "But I back it up.”
After the fight ended, McGregor, adrenaline visible in his wide eyes, bounded over the octagon and sprinted towards Jose Aldo, whom he’ll be fighting in Belfast. As trainers and others held McGregor back, he barked and threatened Aldo who, to his credit, smirked confidently at the Irishman’s antics. When the two face off in May, it’ll likely be the largest UFC event in recent memory. And we expect McGregor will have a lot more to say about it.
“I can promise it’ll be one hell of a show,” he said.
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