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5 sportsmen who made cocky claims they couldn't back up

History has taught us that sometimes over-confidence can backfire.

CONOR McGREGOR’S MUCH-ANTICIPATED showdown with Jose Aldo on 11 July has had everyone talking since it was announced in January.

McGregor’s cocky predictions have kept him in the headlines, but so far the Irish MMA star has delivered on each and every one of his promises.

Sometimes, however, that approach can result in sports stars being the subject of derision for displaying such flamboyant confidence.

These five have all proved that one way or another.

Nicklas Bendtner

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Arsenal v Cardiff City - Emirates Stadium "I want to be among the best strikers in the world. Trust me, it will happen." Source: John Walton

The former Arsenal striker is one of the most entertaining personalities in sport because of his highly-inflated ego… which is wholly unwarranted.

He’s been fined for revealing Paddy Power underwear after scoring for Denmark against Ukraine in 2012, and has also claimed to be one of the best strikers in the world.

Bendtner said in an interview with a Danish newspaper in 2009 that he was on his way to the top. He had just been crowned the Danish Player of the Year but was largely out of favour with manager Arsene Wenger at club level.

“I want to be top scorer in the Premier League, top scorer at the World Cup and, within five years, I want to be among the best strikers in the world. Trust me, it will happen.”

It’s six years since he made those comments and Bendtner has managed a poor return of 30 goals in the intervening period. We won’t take your word again, Nicklas.

Mike Tyson

Lewis Tyson Championship Lennox Lewis knocked Tyson to the canvas in the eighth round of their 2002 bout. Source: Nick Potts

Mike Tyson’s post-fight interview following his knock-out of Lou Savarese inside 38 seconds was both bizarre and disturbing.

“I’m the best ever. I’m the most brutal and vicious, the most ruthless champion there has ever been.

“There’s no one can stop me. Lennox is a conqueror? No! I’m Alexander! He’s no Alexander! I’m the best ever. There’s never been anyone as ruthless. I’m Sonny Liston. I’m Jack Dempsey. There’s no one like me. I’m from their cloth.

“There is no one who can match me. My style is impetuous, my defence is impregnable, and I’m just ferocious. I want your heart! I want to eat his children! Praise be to Allah!

He was knocked out by a right hook from Lewis in the eighth round.


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Jack Kent Cooke

Inglewood Forum Jack Kent Cooke was very sure of victory for his LA Lakers team. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Over-confidence is certainly not a modern phenomenon in sport. In 1969, LA Lakers owner Jack Kent Cooke was left ruing his cockiness ahead of Game 7 of the NBA finals against the Boston Celtics.

With the series tied at 3-3 following the first six games, Cooke felt home advantage would ensure a win for the Lakers and left this note in the match programme.

“When, not if, the Lakers win the title, balloons will be released from the rafters, the USC marching band will play ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’ and broadcaster Chick Hearn will interview Elgin Baylor, Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain in that order.”

There was a party, but it was the Celtics who were celebrating after they edged to a two-point victory over the star-studded Lakers.

David Haye

Germany Boxing Klitschko Haye Wladimir Klitschko comfortably saw off David Haye's challenge in 2011. Source: Martin Meissner

The British heavyweight took trash-talking to new levels in the build-up to his fight with Wladimir Klitschko. Haye made t-shirts with an image containing him holding the decapitated heads of Klitschko and his brother Vitali.

Haye refused to shake the hand of the Ukranian fighter and labelled him as a dickhead. He promised to knock Klitschko unconscious during the bout and even released an iPhone game which allowed players to decapitate an anonymous Russian heavyweight.

Klitschko maintained his dignity throughout, refusing to be drawn into a slagging match with Haye. The Englishman eventually lost with comprehensively, Klitschko dominating the fight and winning via decision. Haye then cited a broken toe as the reason for his loss.

Babs Keating

Tipp manager Babs Keating 1989 "Donkeys don't win derbies." Source: ©INPHO

Back in 1990, Tipperary were the reigning All-Ireland hurling champions and manager Babs Keating was keen to stress that Cork had little chance of derailing them in the Munster Championship.

Keating made what became the most memorable GAA remark of that summer, when he said ‘donkeys don’t win derbies’ after being quizzed about Cork’s chances of upsetting the All-Ireland champions.

Cork were frequently reminded of the comments throughout the weeks leading up to their clash, and it was little surprise when the Rebels dethroned the champions en route to winning the All-Ireland.

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