The Russian-German striking machine is not only up against a surging talent in the rising Irish star, but he’s also figured to be the next step in the SBG Ireland representative’s ascension to the top of the UFC featherweight ladder. He knows McGregor is being fitted for the role of superstar, while he’s the seasoned veteran who is supposed to show up, get steamrolled like McGregor’s previous four opponents inside the Octagon and become the latest addition to the Dublin-based fighter’s resume.
Siver is sure this is the way many in the MMA community believe things will go in the main event at Fight Night: McGregor vs. Siver this Sunday in Boston, but he has an entirely different set of plans. The former lightweight turned featherweight contender has set his sights on shocking the world and derailing McGregor in Boston, and he doesn’t care who believes he can do it.
The spinning back kick master believes he has what it takes to stop McGregor’s run cold, and he’s carrying that fire into his matchup with heavy-handed Irishman. He’s not sure how McGregor has jumped to within striking distance of a title opportunity, but he intends on putting McGregor’s championship hopes on ice this weekend.
“Honestly, the fact that his name is being bandied about for a title shot after a mere four fights in the UFC seems strange,” Siver said. “Perhaps it was his own call to take another fight. Maybe he realized that he wasn’t quite there yet. The other possibility is that he’s looking for an easy fight and an easy win, and like George Sotriopoulos before him, he might be in for a surprise. My goal is to spoil the party and bring him back to reality.”
While Siver has spent his entire career keeping things respectable with his opponents in the lead up to meeting them inside the Octagon, the build up to his tilt with McGregor has brought some added elements. In addition to the bout being a high-profile affair on a magnitude he’s never experienced, his opponent has also been far more disrespectful than anyone he’s previously faced.
McGregor has been a non-stop self-promotional machine since joining the UFC roster in 2013, and every moment of spotlight he can garner has been one he’s absolutely utilized to the fullest. After the bout with Siver was announced back in 2014, McGregor made him the target of his jokes and through countless verbal barbs in interviews and television appearances.
Nevertheless, Siver hasn’t been fazed in the slightest by his opponent’s trash talking, but it has provided plenty of fuel in his preparation for the upcoming scrap.
“It’s pretty easy and straightforward with me,” Siver said. “This is a professional sport and we are athletes. As athletes, colleagues and like-minded individuals, I treat every opponent with respect. We have a common goal, and that is to grow the sport of MMA. Conor is trying to take the easy road to notoriety by talking trash. It’s been working for him because he has been able to get into his opponent’s head and many fans do like his approach. I do feel that Conor is overdoing it and have to say that it saddens me to see how a good portion of the audience is eating it up.
“Conor thrivfes on getting into his opponent’s head and throwing them off their game plan. I don’t know how he arrived at the conclusion that trash talking me was going to get him anywhere. Try finding just a single instance of an opponent’s words affecting me. Good luck. It doesn’t concern me in the least, and the fact that he’s trying anyway shows me that he doesn’t understand me. I am 100 percent focused on the fight itself and am experienced enough to keep my emotions in check and follow through with my strategy.”
Another interesting aspect of the pairing between McGregor and Siver is the timing of the bout. The surging Irish star appeared to be poised to fight the winner of the bout between Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes that took place at UFC 179 back in October, but then McGregor chose to take a fight with Siver as his next step.
Nevertheless, a shot at Aldo and the Brazilian’s featherweight title has been promised with a win over Siver in Boston, and many in the MMA community - Siver included - have cried foul in regard to McGregor’s path to a title shot. He’s risen above a divisional upper tier filled with elite-level wrestlers and has never been pitted against an opponent with a grappling background.
Yet, while Siver finds that particular situation curious, he plans on throwing a proverbial wrench in the works of the featherweight title picture.
“You would have to have been living in a cave to not notice the preferential treatment Conor has been receiving,” Siver said. “Our fight in Boston will change his trajectory. I will show him up as being overrated and I will take his title shot away from him.
“I’m well aware most fans consider the result a foregone conclusion. Yet, the funny part is that we’ve been here before. There was an Australian guy who was going to positively walk all over me on his way to a gimme win and a title shot. I spoiled his plans and I’m fully committed to doing the same with Conor. He needs to learn respect and I’m going to teach him. I will do whatever it takes to leave the Octagon with my hand raised in Boston and put the world on notice - once again - that Dennis Siver is nobody’s stepping stone.”
> Check out the full UFC Fight Night: McGregor vs. Siver fight card