VIDEO: Conor McGregor confirms featherweight title fight for July 11th in Las Vegas
Ahead of tonight's UFC 183, all the limelight was on the last-minute preparations of the returning Anderson Silva and MMA's favourite bad boy Nick Diaz. But then came Conor McGregor.
"The Notorious" took over proceedings for a questions and answers session ahead of the weigh-ins for tonight's card and he didn't disappoint.
The evening opened with McGregor (17-2) announcing that his long-awaited title fight against UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo was finalised and scheduled for UFC 189.
“We have the fight date for McGregor-Aldo, the biggest fight of the year," McGregor said. "Saturday July 11th, international fight week. I’m going to rip that Brazilian’s head off!
“I am calm, composed and I am ruthless. He is just another man in my way.”
When asked about the possibility of 145lb kingpin Jose Aldo stopping him, the Dubliner responded with typical wit.
“He cannot finish his dinner, let alone finish an opponent. If it goes the five rounds, which I don’t think it will, I will be more than ready. All it takes is one clean connection from me and it’s done."
Having secured both the featherweight and lightweight titles in Cage Warriors, the subject of being a multi-divisional champion arose and McGregor was not shy in announcing his plans.
“I definitely have my eyes on that lightweight division 100%," he said. "I will take that featherweight belt and then I will move up.
“I have my eyes on all divisions. My training partners are welterweights, Gunnar Nelson and Cathal Pendred. They are phenomenal welterweights that I train with day-in, day-out so I have no problem going right up to welterweight to be honest."
One or two Irishmen availed of the chance to ask Conor a question, with one inquisitive Corkonian asking "The Notorious" who he considered the greatest Irish sportsperson of all time.
“It’s hard to go against Roy Keane," McGregor said. "He’s competed at the highest level and won medals at the highest level in football.
"Katie Taylor is another one, an Olympic champion who is putting the men to shame in the boxing game.
"Robbie Keane is another one, he’s the highest goalscorer in Irish history.
“We have some great sportspeople in our country and I am proud to be representing our country on a new stage."
McGregor was in Vegas to speak ahead of the fight between Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz and he revealed that he's a big fan of both fighters, with a special admiration for the Stockton fighter.
“I love Nick Diaz. You cannot be a fight fan and not love Nick Diaz. He comes to fight, he comes with his hands up and he never takes a backwards step.
“That’s why this is a phenomenal contest. You’ve got Anderson Silva, one of the pound-for-pound greatest of all time, making the comeback from that injury. And then you’ve got Diaz coming forward who does not take a back step."
The Irishman who's currently riding a 13-fight winning streak was also asked for comment on the featherweight contenders who feel hard done by the fact that he was rewarded with the next shot at Jose Aldo's belt and McGregor revealed who he thought was the best out of that bunch.
“I’d say Frankie [Edgar] because he held the lightweight belt and he’s been successful at featherweight but I think he’s a natural 135lber. Chad [Mendes] is a wrestler with an overhand right who also should be a 135lber. [Ricardo] Lamas … is … rubbish. He should be cut.”
A few Aldo fans made their way to the mic to back up the Brazilian, with one asking McGregor what he thought of Jose's lack of reaction when "The Notorious" leapt out of the octagon to confront the champion.
“You think he didn’t react but I could feel a reaction,” McGregor answered.
“If he didn’t react then where the fuck was he when we were supposed to face off in the octagon?”