Conor McGregor is three fights into his UFC career, but he’s already made enough noise to garner the attention of everyone.
The hype train rolled into Ireland on Saturday with UFC Fight Night Dublin, and McGregor delivered on what his pre-fight talk was based on: a thorough finish.
The Irishman put Diego Brandão away in just over four minutes. After the fight, he said he’ll take on all comers, one by one, en route to bringing his vision of being featherweight champion a reality.
“I personally have a vision of myself as the world champion by the end of the year. And I’ve heard Dana say ‘he won’t be world champion by the end of the year,’ but who knows?” McGregor said at the post-fight press conference. “I had a clear vision, like I had this vision that I was going to bring these [fight cards] back here when I first got the opportunity. Like I got the vision at UFC 93, I was going to be the guy to get in there and deal with. The same vision I had then, I have now. Who knows what can happen? Injuries happen in this game, and all I know is I stay ready. I’m looking to get as quick a turnaround as possible and climb that division, one by one.”
“I will eliminate the whole division,” he added. “When I am finished, there will be nobody left.”
McGregor’s rise in three fights rivals those of fighters who have seen similar popularity, only their climb most of the time took closer to double digits in terms of Octagon appearances. Sure, a lot of it is McGregor's talk and ability to sell himself, but two finishes in three outings says a lot, especially when the decibel level got up to 111 due to screaming fans, as alleged by UFC president Dana White on Saturday.
But even if Ireland showed McGregor and the UFC copious amounts of love and appreciation, the fighter’s next bout won’t be in his home town. Instead, McGregor will likely land in Sin City, probably in a pay-per-view slot.
“Conor’s next fight definitely isn’t going to be in Ireland and it probably won’t be in Europe,” White said, following the fights. “He’ll probably fight in Vegas.”
Now comes the time when UFC brass shuffles through their 145-pound deck of fighters to determine whom they see fit to match with McGregor next. One name that was mentioned a lot during the UFC Fight Night stream and again at the post-fight presser was Dustin Poirier, who took to Twitter to announce he’s all in for a trip to Vegas.
“I’m ready when you are,” Poirier wrote. “UFC 178 sounds good to me.”
McGregor said he’ll welcome a fight with Poirier, but questioned why it didn’t already happen. When Cole Miller, McGregor’s original UFC Fight Night Dublin opponent, had to withdraw from the card, the fighter questioned why Poirier didn’t step up in Miller’s place.
Miller can pretend he wants the fight, McGregor said. If his visions serve him properly, the vocal visionary sees the Poirier fight as a step towards the top of the UFC featherweight mountain, and a decimation of the organization's 145-pound roster.
“That’ll be perfect for me because I already know that guy doesn’t want to fight,” McGregor said of a potential pairing with Poirier. “His teammate, Cole Miller, pulled out of the fight. He was scheduled to be here to compete tonight. He pulled out, and you’re trying to tell me Dustin Poirier, a top-10 guy, Nik Lentz, a top-10 guy, both of whom had no fights scheduled, didn’t know about Cole’s injury? They would've known before the UFC would’ve known … And yet nothing.
“I know he doesn’t want that fight. He can pretend that he wants that fight and send out his little tweets about this and that, but let’s do it. One by one, I will take every single one of them out. If next in line is Dustin, that’s no problem.”
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