The Fight Club Q&A is traditionally a way for UFC fans to interact with their favorite fighters before an event weigh-in. Friday in Rio de Janeiro, it was something quite different, as the polarizing Conor McGregor ignited an entire crowd of Brazilians with his always entertaining brand of trash talk and commentary, much of it directed at the man defending the featherweight title Saturday night, Jose Aldo.
“I am the number one contender,” McGregor said. “The next time Jose steps into the Octagon after Saturday night, it will be to face me. In the meantime, I took another fight with Dennis Siver to eliminate another contender.”
Admirably moderated by Paula Sack, with Derek Kronig Lee handling translation duties for the Dublin native, the Q&A had a thick layer of tension over it from the start, with McGregor verbally sparring with fans who wanted nothing more than to see their hero Aldo get his hands on the brash Irishman, who was unmoved by the fervor in which he was addressed.
“I fear nothing,” McGregor said.
Aldo does have business to take care of with Chad Mendes in the main event of UFC 179 Saturday night first, and McGregor does as well, as he will face Germany’s Siver in a UFC Fight Night headliner in January that was officially announced today. Not surprisingly, “The Notorious” one isn’t too worried about his next bout.
“Dennis is an easy contest,” he said. “I see him as a keep fresh, get rich fight.”
When the back and forth shouting subsided for a moment, McGregor - who will be Octagonside Saturday night - did give respect to the Brazilian warriors of the Octagon, but again, it was only for a moment.
“I respect all competitors that step into the Octagon,” he said. “The Brazilian fighters have been game changers over the years. Anderson Silva is one of the greatest of all-time. But again, business is business. It is not personal, and I must eliminate Jose Aldo on the way to the gold.”
Would he do it in Brazil though?
“I would love to fight here. If they want, I’ll fight Jose here tomorrow night, no problem.”