Conor McGregor: I’m in the head of Jose Aldo and every other UFC featherweight
When Jose Aldo defeated Chad Mendes last October, the usually reserved champion took a quick verbal jab in his post-fight interview.
"I think the court is complete here: I’m king, Chad’s the prince and now we have a joker," Aldo said following his win at UFC 179.
The "joker" likely was a subtle reference to the headliner of Sunday’s UFC Fight Night on FOX Sports 1: Conor McGregor. The Irish up-and-comer has been gunning for Aldo and his belt virtually since arriving in the UFC, and it appears he may have gotten his attention. For Aldo to even mention another fighter is the equivalent of a 20-minute tirade.
Cut to this week as McGregor descends upon the city of Boston for his second main event since joining the UFC, and even fighters he’s not facing have him on their minds. Top five-ranked featherweight Ricardo Lamas made a seven-minute video mocking McGregor while calling himself "The Delirious Conrad McGillicutty" and released it on Thursday, just three days before McGregor fights again.
McGregor thinks the message is clear: "I feel I’m in everybody’s head," he said this week.
I feel I’m in everybody’s head. Every single person’s head I have invaded. That is the way I feel it is. I do believe I am in their heads.
— Conor McGregor
Going into this weekend’s fight in Boston, McGregor is the talk of the town and his opponent, Dennis Siver, seems like nothing more than an afterthought. Beyond the spotlight shining on McGregor, the oddsmakers have instilled him as an 11-to-1 favorite.
Siver is a veteran competitor, but there aren’t many people picking an upset to happen. So it’s impossible not to talk about the next fight on McGregor’s radar should he win on Sunday night: a showdown with Aldo for the featherweight title.
McGregor would be lying if he said he’s not thinking about a matchup with Aldo, considering it’s the fight he’s been talking about basically since his first day with the promotion. To think it’s serving as a distraction, however, is a disservice to the way McGregor approaches any fight.
He’s thinking about Aldo the same way he’s contemplating the moves he’ll use against Siver or how he’d counter Mendes or outwork Frankie Edgar. There’s not a featherweight on the planet that McGregor hasn’t already beaten — in his own mind.
"All of them will get it at some stage of my career," McGregor said. "I’m going to get every single one of them. It’s something I’ve always been thinking about. I think about every fight. Every scenario. Every sequence."
If there is one thing that may be a distraction, it’s the absurd amount of promotion McGregor is doing in the days leading up to this fight. While his opponent likely is cutting weight and going through the final rigors of preparation, McGregor is doing a slew of interviews and appearances.
McGregor downplays the idea that all this extra work is taking away from his time in the gym. When it’s time to train, McGregor shuts out the entire world and keeps his eyes on the ultimate prize: the UFC featherweight title.
"I show up at the gym, I train my body, and I look to become more loose, more fluid, have better control, and gain a better understanding of movement, a better understanding of the game," McGregor said. "I carry on doing what I do. I trust in my work."
If all goes well on Sunday and McGregor does finish Siver, he’ll be standing just a few feet away from Aldo, who will be in attendance. So what are the chances he takes aim at the featherweight champion and makes another one of his infamous post-fight speeches?
McGregor finds a way to promote even that.
"I believe I will. It’s the same thing I’ve been doing since I got here. I will carry on executing it," McGregor teased. "You’ll have to tune in to FOX Sports 1 to see it."