conor-mcgregor-3.jpg(This story appears in today’s edition of USA TODAY.)

Say what you will about UFC featherweight Conor McGregor; just don’t say he lacks confidence.

In a single breath, the fast-talking fighter from Dublin will tell you he’s the best in the world, the most popular mixed martial artist to come out of the Emerald Isle, and he’s ready for the UFC 145-pound title whenever the company brass feels like saving time and putting it around his waist.

“I guess I have a little bit of an ego,” McGregor, 25, tells USA TODAY Sports and MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) in a phone interview. “I’m confidently cocky, you might say. I just tell myself I’m the best that ever lived. No one can touch me.”

That’s a hypothesis that will be tested when McGregor (13-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) makes his North American debut in Boston on Saturday, taking on featherweight Max Holloway (7-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 26 (FOX Sports 1, 6 p.m. ET).

Although McGregor has had only one UFC fight — a first-round TKO win against Marcus Brimage in April — the hype around him is exerting its own gravitational pull. Even UFC President Dana White appears to have gotten caught up in it. A recent video McGregor posted shows his boss squiring him around the Las Vegas Strip in a topless Ferrari to celebrate his birthday in July.

It might seem like too much, too soon to some, but not to McGregor. He’ll tell you no one deserves this sort of treatment more than he does.

“Honestly, the hype and all that, to me it feels the same,” McGregor says. “I’ve always felt like there was a lot of hype around me even when there wasn’t. I felt like everyone was talking about me even when no one was talking about me. In my head, it was always like this.”

It probably helps that McGregor has the support of a nation. His Irish fans have long petitioned the UFC to sign the self-proclaimed “King of Dublin,” and now that he’s in the big leagues, his goal is to prove the faith of his supporters is well-founded.

“We’re a small nation, and we support our own who go out and have success, anybody who makes our nation proud,” McGregor says. “You could be playing ping-pong, but if you’re doing well, we get behind you.”

That’s part of why he so desperately wanted to be on this fight card, McGregor said. It might be a big event for the UFC primarily because it helps to kick off the newly created FOX Sports 1 network, but for McGregor it’s also a chance to fight in a place with strong ancestral ties. That’s why walking to the cage in the “long lost Irish city of Boston,” McGregor says, will feel like a homecoming.

“I’m expecting the biggest cheers there,” he added. “Twenty-thousand Irish Americans are going to tear the roof off for me, and I’m going to do them proud. I’m going to give them a show. It’s going to be a special night.”

For the latest on UFC Fight Night 26, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Jon Jones: Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor believed their own hype (Yahoo Sports)

  • 2 days ago
  • 151 views

From Yahoo Sports: Jones says he knows he can be beat, and that his team keeps him grounded. He doesn't think that's the case for the UFC's other two big stars. read news >>

Jon Jones: Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor believed their own hype (Yahoo Sports)

  • 2 days ago
  • 9 views

From Yahoo Sports: Jones says he knows he can be beat, and that his team keeps him grounded. He doesn't think that's the case for the UFC's other two big stars. read news >>

Unbeaten Prospect Phil Hawes Makes Quick Turnaround, Faces Louis Taylor at WSOF 32

  • 2 days ago
  • 37 views

World Series of Fighting announced today that undefeated prospect Phil Hawes will make a quick turnaround and step back in the decagon cage just six weeks after his promotional debut. read news >>

UFC 199: Rockhold vs. Bisping 2 Odds, Tickets, Predictions and Pre-Weigh-In Hype

  • 29 days ago
  • 35 views

Not one, but two championship fights headline UFC 199. Luke Rockhold will defend his middleweight championship against Michael Bisping in the main event Saturday night in Los Angeles, while Dominick read news >>

Dana White Unsure If He Can Sign McGregor-Diaz Rematch, Conor 'Obsessed'

  • 29 days ago
  • 12 views

Dana White is hard at work trying to land Conor McGregor his rematch against Nate Diaz, but the UFC president isn’t sure if he can get the pen to paper. White appeared on SportsCenter and The Herd wi read news >>

Dana White Declares Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz in Jeopardy, Might Have to Move On

  • 29 days ago
  • 21 views

Dana White on Thursday admitted that, with Nate Diaz negotiations stalling out, Conor McGregor may have to move on from his desire for a rematch. read news >>

Dana White Talks About Problems in Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz Negotiations

  • 28 days ago
  • 530 views

UFC President Dana White has had some problems negotiating recently with two of the UFC's biggest fighters. UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor, perhaps the most famous fighter in MMA today, se read news >>

VIDEO: Dustin Poirier Isn’t Chasing Conor McGregor, He’s Chasing UFC Belts

  • 28 days ago
  • 16 views

Dustin Poirier is 3-0 since he lost to Conor McGregor at featherweight and then returned to lightweight. But he's not chasing the Irishman or revenge. read news >>

Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor II Announced for UFC 202: Latest Comments, Reaction

  • 26 days ago
  • 37 views

After plenty of posturing by all parties involved, the UFC confirmed Saturday night Conor McGregor will return to the Octagon for a rematch with Nate Diaz, per UFC commentator Jon Anik. The two will read news >>

Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz 2 Booked for UFC 202 on August 20

  • 26 days ago
  • 18 views

The highly anticipated rematch between Nate Diaz and featherweight champion Conor McGregor has been signed to take place at UFC 202 on August 20. read news >>