NEW YORK — Conor McGregor certainly has a flare for the dramatic.
On Thursday at the UFC 205 pre-fight press conference, McGregor arrived about 10 minutes after the other fighters had already started answering questions from the media. McGregor's lateness actually prompted his opponent to get up and leave the press conference temporarily until the featherweight champion finally arrived.
McGregor's outfit — apparently fashioned after a similar one worn by “Smokin” Joe Frazier ahead of his historic bout with Muhammad Ali at Madison Square Garden — was a big topic of conversation for the Irishman once he took the stage.
Article continues below ...
“The Irish are back. We've taken back control of New York City. I run New York City” McGregor shouted. “I'm a (expletive) pimp, rocking Gucci mink, and without me, this whole (expletive) ship sinks!
“Gucci mink — this is what confidence looks like. Serious. This is what big Irish balls look like.”
His attention eventually turned away from fashion and back onto the fight where McGregor continuously took shots at Alvarez throughout the press conference.
McGregor has promised to finish Alvarez in the opening round as he believes the veteran fighter has taken too much damage over the years and it will finally come back to haunt him in this fight.
Of course, McGregor says he's also ready for a five round battle if that's what it takes to get the job done on Saturday night.
“I predict I rearrange his face. He's too easily hit. Through all the talk and through all everything else, he can be hit too easily,” McGregor said. “It's happened to him his whole career and when you're talking about somebody with the precision that I have, I'm going to hit him, he's going to fall. Maybe if his toughness holds up, he'll survive, but then his face will begin to be rearranged. That's what I predict.
“I think one round. If he can hold out, drag it into the trenches, I'll take my hat off to him, but he'll never be the same after if that is the case.”
In the lead up to the fight, McGregor has heard criticism from Alvarez and his coaching staff that have accused him of facing as the fight moves forward past the first two rounds.
McGregor did go five rounds with Nate Diaz back in August, but he says his conditioning may be even better for this fight whether he needs it or not.
“I certainly believe in my shots, believe in everything I have here that I will put this man away but I am prepared for the five rounds,” McGregor said. “I kind of hope it is the five rounds because they've discussed the cardio as an advantage on his side, but I completely disagree on that. If he can make it into the trenches, we'll go there and we'll see, but I'm prepared for five rounds.”
Just after McGregor walked out on stage and noticed that Alvarez was gone, the current featherweight champion took the opportunity to take the other UFC title on the table where his opponent was supposed to be sitting.
McGregor put the title next to his own — signifying what he hopes will happen on Saturday night with a win — as he once again reveled in the moment with the crowd at Madison Square Garden coming completely unglued.
“It felt very familiar,” McGregor said about having two title belts in front of him. “I've been a two weight world champion a long time now. It felt familiar to me.”
There's no doubt that a victory would not only put McGregor in rarified air, but he would be all alone as the only fighter in UFC history to ever hold two title belts in two different divisions at the same time.
The feat has only been attempted once before when B.J. Penn journeyed up from the lightweight division to take a shot at Georges St-Pierre and the welterweight title in 2009. Penn ultimately lost the fight by TKO after four rounds.
McGregor obviously expects a different outcome when he faces Alvarez at UFC 205.
“This just puts (my legacy) even more in stone,” McGregor said. “That second belt, never been done. No one's even came close, no one's even attempted it. I'll be immortalized after this one.”