USA TODAY: 'Confidently cocky' Irishman Conor McGregor says UFC hype justified


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

  • a day ago
  • 10 views

UFC Featherweight competitor Conor McGregor discusses his upcoming match-up against Dustin Poirier and why the UFC will be pressured to hand him a title shot following the event. Conor McGregor is qu read news >>

  • 27 days ago
  • 78 views

On September 27 in Las Vegas, Demetrious Johnson will put his flyweight title on the line against No. 8-ranked flyweight Chris Cariaso. In the co-main event, perennial lightweight contender Donald Ce read news >>

  • 7 days ago
  • 48 views

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) rising star Conor McGregor gets mic'd up to call the play-by-play for fellow Ireland import Norman Parke, who recently battled Jon Tuck last October in Manchester read news >>

  • 6 days ago
  • 12 views

Budding UFC superstar Conor McGregor was mic'd as he watched his pal Norman Parke face Jon Tuck last year in Manchester. Ever wonder what UFC Featherweight firebrand Conor McGregor is thinking as he read news >>

  • 4 days ago
  • 84 views

Did Conor McGregor hack Bobby Green's Twitter account? Bobby Green has an idea of who he wants to fight next inside the Octagon. And he let everyone know by going on a call-out spree on Twitter earli read news >>

  • 2 days ago
  • 0 views

Not only will Conor McGregor be cageside to watch Jose Aldo fight Chad Mendes again, he will be ready to jump in the Octagon if either fighter, say, slips and falls on a banana peel. read news >>

  • a day ago
  • 10 views

Dustin Poirier is the most decorated fighter Conor McGregor has ever faced. In the eyes of “The Notorious,” though, his UFC 178 foe is hardly a step up in competition.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC read news >>

  • a day ago
  • 75 views

You can now watch the full segment featuring featherweights Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier from the “Countdown to UFC 178? special.Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

  • a day ago
  • 13 views

The worldwide leader for mixed martial arts and UFC news, MMA News, UFC Rumors, MMA Rankings, Interviews, Videos, UFC Results, and UFC Blog read news >>