Conor McGregor has delivered countless memorable lines over the course of his MMA career. One of his most famous occurred at a 2016 press conference, when after being called out by featherweight contender Jeremy Stephens, he pretended not to know who Stephens was.
“Who the f**k is that guy,” McGregor said to the laughter of the crowd.
Roughly three years later, in the lead-up to his UFC 246 welterweight fight with Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, McGregor looked back on this famous moment. He admits that, contrary to his snappy one-liner, he did in fact know who Stephens was.
He even has some nice things to say about the featherweight contender.
Did @TheNotoriousMMA really not know who Jeremy Stephens was?! 🤔
Well, we asked him… pic.twitter.com/g5iDRTZxld
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) January 15, 2020
“Of course I knew who Jeremy was,” Conor McGregor told UFC Europe with a laugh. “Jeremy’s a good fighter. He was a former lightweight, then went down to the featherweight division, has good power in his hands.”
McGregor went on to explain that he was simply feeling confident at the time, and that this sizzling line just rolled off his tongue.
“At the time it was just impeccable,” McGregor said. “You don’t really think about these things. You just go off the cuff and have a bit of fun in there. I was in a great spot. I just avenged my loss against Nate Diaz. A lot of hard work went into that. And then I was preparing for the second world title bout [with Eddie Alvarez]. I was in a great spot mentally and physically, and I don’t know, it just rolled off the tongue and clattered old Jeremy in the cheek.”
As aforementioned, Conor McGregor is gearing up for a high-stakes welterweight scrap with Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, which will headline the UFC 246 card this Saturday. The bout will be the Irishman’s first since he lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov in late 2018.
Are you surprised to hear McGregor admit he knew who Jeremy Stephens was when he uttered this famous line?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 1/14/2020.