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

Is Conor McGregor the UFC's Top Pound-for-Pound Fighter? | MMAWeekly.com

  • 28 days ago
  • 21 views

Dana White recently said that Conor McGregor is the top pound-for-pound fighter. Do you agree? read news >>

Dana White: Conor McGregor could face Khabib Nurmagomedov in first lightweight title defense

  • 28 days ago
  • 59 views

With UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor set to take some time away from the octagon to begin 2017, there hasn’t been much talk of who he could fight next following his title-winning knockout of read news >>

Reminder: 'Countdown to UFC 207: Nunes vs. Rousey' debuts today on FS1

  • 25 days ago
  • 25 views

As a reminder, the UFC’s traditional pre-event show returns today with the debut of “Countdown to UFC 207: Nunes vs. Rousey” on FS1.Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

MMAjunkie Radio (1 p.m. ET): UFC 207's Louis Smolka and Alex Garcia, Eric Del Fierro (in studio)

  • 23 days ago
  • 2 views

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Louis Smolka, Alex Garcia and Eric Del Fierro.Filed under: MMAjunkie Radio, News, UFC read news >>

Relive the UFC's best trash-talking moments of 2016 – think Conor McGregor's in there?

  • 25 days ago
  • 46 views

From “Who the (expletive) is that guy?” to “Where is Jose Waldo?” and many others, 2016 was a year where skills on the microphone became just as important to success in MMA as anything else.Filed und read news >>

UFC 207: Nunes vs. Rousey Odds, Tickets, Predictions and Pre-Weigh-In Hype

  • 23 days ago
  • 11 views

It’s the return that most UFC fans have been waiting for, and a return that some UFC fans are sick of hearing about. Ronda Rousey makes her return to the Octagon Friday night in Las Vegas in the main read news >>

USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie Rankings, Dec. 27: Can Ronda Rousey take back her No. 1 spot?

  • 23 days ago
  • 5 views

This weekend’s UFC 207 card is full of intriguing matchups, but there’s much on the line in the evening’s main event.Filed under: Bellator, MMA Rankings, News, UFC, WSOF read news >>

Nunes vs. Rousey: UFC 207 Odds, Predictions and Pre-Fight Twitter Hype

  • 22 days ago
  • 12 views

For a main event that has its fighters participating in little to no media this week, the silence has somehow created even more of a buildup to Friday night's bout between Amanda Nunes and Ronda Rous read news >>

Nunes vs. Rousey: Odds, Tickets, Predictions After Weigh-In

  • 21 days ago
  • 10 views

The UFC's biggest star after Conor McGregor is returning to the Octagon after 13 months. That's right, Ronda Rousey is back. But in her path to redemption lies the "Lioness" Amanda Nunes. The UFC wom read news >>

Watch today's weigh-in in dynamic 360 video

  • 22 days ago
  • 0 views

UFC is making history again as the first professional sport to test out the new live 360 video streaming technology on Periscope via Twitter at the UFC 207: NUNES vs. ROUSEY ceremonial weigh-in event read news >>