LAS VEGAS — Behind the slogan, “The Time is Now,” the Ultimate Fighting Championship rolled out its 2015 calendar on Monday at a news conference in Las Vegas. Of the 45 events slated for next year, 13 will be on pay-per-view. The other 32 will be UFC Fight Night events, including 18 on Fox Sports 1, 10 on UFC Fight Pass and four shows on FOX.
And if Conor McGregor somehow fought on all 45 UFC cards next year, the sport might be better off.
The brash Irish featherweight — scheduled to fight Dennis Siver at UFC Fight Night 59 in Boston on Jan. 18 — stole the show at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. McGregor has never been shy and it didn’t take much probing from the media in order to get the instant quote machine rolling in discussing his competition in and out the featherweight division.
“It is a mismatch,” McGregor said on fighting the veteran Siver. “I’m going to whoop his a**, collect a check and then I’m gone.”
McGregor was just getting started as champions Ronda Rousey and Jon Jones tried to hold back their laughter whenever “The Notorious” one grabbed the mic.
McGregor was cageside at UFC 179 in Rio de Janeiro to get a first-hand look at featherweight champion Jose Aldo, who he’s rumored to fight next if he defeats Siver.
“I believe there are a lot of holes I would capitalized on,” McGregor said about Aldo’s successful title defense against Chad Mendes. “He showed his frustration in the contest. Both competitors were very similar in styles. I pose different movements and different reactions than anybody on the roster, not just the division. I’m highly confident I will shut Jose Also down in spectacular fashion and take over the game.”
McGregor is a champion trash-talker, but some have questioned his talent in the octagon and fast rise in the featherweight division. Back-to-back wins and performance of the night bonuses against Diego Brandão and Dustin Poirier silenced some of the critics, but McGregor doesn’t appear to be phased by the naysayers.
“Let’s see by the end of the 2015 who has the highest pay-per-view numbers,” McGregor said. “Let’s see who has the highest gate. Let’s see who has the highest attendance. Again, I won’t look past Dennis. I will look through him exactly on where I plan on going. I believe 2015 will be my year. I know a lot of the featherweights are bitching and moaning and hating on it but they don’t have to love it. They can even hate it, but they will be forced to accept it.”
Fourteen fighters in total were in attendance, including the headliners for UFC Fight Night 58 (Lyoto Machida vs. C.B. Dollaway), UFC 182 (Jones vs. Daniel Cormier), UFC on FOX 14 (Alexander Gustafsson vs. Anthony Johnson), UFC 183 (Anderson Silva vs. Nick Diaz) and UFC 184 (Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort and Ronda Rousey vs. Cat Zingano).
And as for the big announcement the UFC teased, well …
“I hate to disappoint you, but we didn’t get it done in time for this,” UFC president Dana White told the crowd.
Let the speculation continue.