Conor McGregor explains his stardom: I ‘do things that have not been done before’
The Irish are coming to Boston this weekend in droves as home-country hero Conor McGregor descends upon the city for his fifth fight in the UFC in a matchup that will earn him a featherweight title shot with a win.
McGregor has reached superstardom since joining the UFC two years ago, quickly becoming one of the faces of the organization and the most talked about fighter on the roster.
When he headlined the UFC’s return to Dublin last summer, McGregor felt the support of every Irishman in the country. His people travel well because the same could be said when he knocked out Dustin Poirier in less than a round in his next fight at UFC 178 in Las Vegas. The crowd in attendance was overwhelmingly in McGregor’s corner as the flag of Ireland eclipsed any other sign or banner in the arena that night.
Now, as McGregor gets ready to face Dennis Siver this weekend, he’s expecting another Irish invasion as Boston will be painted green on Sunday night.
"I’m sure it will feel like St. Paddy’s day on the night. I’m sure it will," McGregor told FOX Sports. "I believe a lot of the Irish fans are getting in on Friday so it’s definitely going to get a lot more hectic around that time. It’s going to be a great weekend."
When you are the guy, you’re the guy. It needs no explanation. I show up, I fight, and do things that have not been done before. I speak the way people have not spoke before.
— Conor McGregor
McGregor has been a one-man show in the weeks leading up to the fight with the majority of the promotion and ballyhoo surrounding the Irish contender. Meanwhile, Siver has been mentioned by name only in most spots acting like an opening band to the main attraction about to take center stage.
While the hype machine certainly helps push McGregor’s agenda, it’s his own willingness to sell himself since the day he arrived in the UFC that makes him so marketable. McGregor never shies away from dropping a one-liner on a reporter when doing an interview and the heat he creates with opponents in the days leading up to the fight is something that hasn’t been seen in the UFC since Tito Ortiz was digging graves and wearing T-shirts that taunted fighters both before and after he stepped inside the Octagon.
If there’s one question that stumps McGregor, however, it’s the subject of his own meteoric rise and why he’s so attractive to fighters, fans and media alike. It takes the Irishman a moment to think and then in true McGregor form, he unleashes another instant classic.
"When you are the guy, you’re the guy. It needs no explanation," McGregor said. "I show up, I fight, and do things that have not been done before. I speak the way people have not spoke before. I move differently. I cannot put it into words what it is.
"I’m a different individual from these people. I guess it’s something that has not been seen before and people take note."
The UFC has certainly taken note.
While the fight night card in Boston features several notable names including former lightweight champion Benson Henderson and popular competitor Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone, everybody knows the person most responsible for a near-sellout crowd is McGregor — even on a Sunday night when the New England Patriots are playing 30 minutes away.
He has become a cultural icon in his home country to the point of fans flocking to the local barbershop just for the chance to duplicate the same hairstyle McGregor rocks inside the Octagon.
It shouldn’t be a shock then to hear the UFC is contemplating taking a card to Croke Park in Ireland where 90,000 screaming fans would fill the stadium. Not surprisingly, McGregor says he’s the only man who could get the job done.
"There’s not more than one. I am the only one on the roster that could fill a soccer stadium to capacity," McGregor said. "There’s not more than one. There’s only one."
Before McGregor can dance on an Irish stadium field or entertain the idea of facing featherweight king Jose Aldo later this year in what would likely be one of the biggest fights of 2014, he first has to dispatch Siver on Sunday night.
McGregor has predicted his victory will come in less than two minutes into the first round. His coach was even more confident and said it could be over in less than 60 seconds.
Isn’t it possible Siver is being overlooked? Could he pull off the upset and beat the UFC’s new golden boy? Doesn’t Siver possess some kind of skill set that could possibly hurt McGregor during the fight?
"No, nothing," McGregor says bluntly when the question is raised. "I feel I’m too much for him. I’m too much of an animal for him. I’m too much of a shock. I have too many places to go to take this fight cleanly and smoothly and that’s what I will do."