“You’re damn right I’d be ready.”
Conor McGregor, the UFC featherweight contender, is holding court at a Las Vegas press event in advance of Saturday’s UFC 178 event. He’s been asked if he would be ready to fill in for either the division champion, Jose Aldo, or his next opponent, Chad Mendes, for their upcoming bout in Brazil.
“I stay ready,” McGregor continues, in his classic Irish lilt. “It’s my logo: ‘Stay Ready.’ You can go to Dethrone.com and I’ve got my own line of ‘Stay Ready’ hot pants. I’ve got a line of “Stay Ready” panties and they’re the fastest selling panties in Dethrone (Royalty) history. Stay ready!”
“I’m actually flying out to Brazil,” he smiles with his typical impish grin. “How about that! Not only will I fly out, I’ll jump into the Octagon if need be. Who knows? I might stick a few banana peels around the weigh-in area and hope someone falls. I’ll honestly whoop both of them.”
Asked to break the bout down, the always-brash McGregor describes a change in Aldo and his camp, Nova Uniao:
“We have the win over [Renan] Barao with T.J. Dillashaw. That (signals) a shift in things. Barao missed weight and all so there’s definitely problems in the (Nova Uniao) camp. They’ve been complaining about money, etc. Then there’s been injuries back and forth. I feel a weakness in the mind frame of these people, which can go up and down — so you never know.”
“Then you’ve also got to look at the fact of the first contest (between Mendes and Aldo),” McGregor continues. “Chad was embarrassed in the first contest. Every single shot he took was stuffed and he got eaten alive on the feet — and then he got knocked out in the first round. So, it’s going to be an interesting one, but again: ultimately, I don’t give a s***. I’m going to whoop both of them.”
He agrees with some observers’ notion that Aldo is slowing and becoming less dominant.
“I think so many martial artists get into a situation where they stay the same,” he remarks. “They get to a level and maintain. Bring guys in, spar hard, get fit. But you’re not experimenting with new shots. You’re going hard 24/7, putting your body through hell, and your skill level stays the same. Ultimately, it starts to take its toll.”
What sets McGregor apart, then? He says: “I know I’m only scratching the surface at this, and that’s why I’m staying ahead.”
“This is my second fight after ACL surgery. That (Diego) Brandao fight wasn’t the real me. If I had to judge it, I’d say that was one of my worst performances. Now, my balance is there, my flexibility is there, and everything is clicking to that next level… I don’t feel like a contender. I feel like a king. September 27 everybody’s going to learn the difference between a king and a contender!”
“I pinch myself every day,” McGregor admits. “I may rub some people the wrong way but I’m just a kid living my dream.”
Click here for video of the interview, provided by MMA Weekly.