Conor McGregor (16-2 MMA, 4-0 UFC) is coming off a first-round knockout victory over Dustin Poirier at September’s UFC 178 event in Las Vegas.
Following his win over “The Diamond”, the brash young Irishman proclaimed himself the divisions number one contender, a notion that UFC president Dana White seems to agree with.
McGregor will be in attendance for this weekend’s UFC 179 event in Rio de Janeiro, which would appear to perfectly set-up a fight with the winner of evenings Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes main event title fight.
That may no longer be the case, however, as in a recent interview with BT Sport, McGregor claimed he wants at least one more fight before challenging for UFC gold:
“Of course I want to take another fight because I know what way it has gone in the past,” McGregor said. “The champion has pulled out because of injuries and things get delayed. I’m not holding back. I’m not sitting and waiting. Some people might want to sit and wait. Ultimately, I already envision the belt as mine. Now it’s about the money. I want to get that money. I want to take another fight.”
McGregor has faced criticism for the fact that he’s has already jumped into title discussions, this when the likes of Cub Swanson and Dennis Bermudez have established longer winning streaks in the division. But those cries of foul haven’t phased Conor’s belief:
“I am the No. 1 contender – it’s that simple,” McGregor said. “I hold the key to the biggest attendance, the biggest gate, the football stadiums (in Europe). I hold the key to that, and they know I hold the key to that. I am the No. 1 contender.”
If the winner of Saturday’s main event fight can come out of the contest relatively unscathed, then McGregor says he would be happy to wait a couple of months for his title shot. That said, the Irishman knows how frequently injuries occur in MMA so he has a plan B ready to go:
“We have spoke,” McGregor said. “We won’t say nothing, but we have spoke with Lorenzo (Fertitta), with Dana (White), Uncle Frank (Fertitta). We will see what happens. I am definitely looking to keep busy. In this game, as long as you are fit, as long as you are healthy, get in and compete. Get in and get rich. That’s my approach on it anyway. Anything can happen in this game. You could be sitting out. Other fighters would like to sit out and wait for a title shot – I am already in my mind the champion. Let’s just continue racking up them bills.”
McGregor also gave his prediction for Saturday’s Aldo vs. Mendes featherweight title fight during the interview, here’s his take:
“I think Chad has focused a lot on his athletic ability and becoming a better athlete, but his athleticism is not what let him down in the first contest,” McGregor said. “It was his technical ability. I see a similar contest. Aldo has had the injuries as well. He’s been back and forth. In seeing how it plays out, I see a second round stoppage. Something very similar to the first contest.”