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'There is no opponent' - McGregor on Boston fight

The Dubliner meets Hawaiian Max Holloway on 17 August but is only thinking about his own performance.

McGregor posing at the Setanta Sports media event yesterday.
McGregor posing at the Setanta Sports media event yesterday.
Image: Sportsfile

IRISH UFC FIGHTER Conor McGregor is focusing on his own gameplan and not his opponent ahead of the upcoming fight in Boston.

The SBG featherweight takes on Hawaiian Max Holloway after an injury to Andy Ogle meant the Englishman was forced to pull out of the 17 August bout.

It will be the 25-year-old’s second UFC appearance after defeat Marcus Brimage with a first round TKO in April and McGregor insists that he will prepare for this fight in the same way – by visualising his own moves and strikes.

“I was supposed to be fighting more of a wrestler, a grinder,” McGregor told the media at a Setanta Sports media event in Dublin yesterday. “Now I’m fighting a Hawaiian who prefers to stand up. I see some good exchanges. I think he’ll give me more exchanges than the last opponent.

But I think I’ll be too strong, too slick and will have too many moves in my locker. I think I could have him out of there by the end of the first round… maybe the second. I’m feeling confident. It’s going to be a fun night representing Ireland.

“I don’t look too much at my opponent. For me, there is no opponent. I am the opponent. I don’t dwell on who the body is in front of me because it can change like that.

“There’s already been a replacement so if I prepare for a certain opponent and he slips on a bar of soap in the shower, there’s a different guy with a different body type and different movement. It can throw your game off. I just prepare for everything and show up trying to learn and improve.”

McGregor looking sharp yesterday. Credit: INPHO/Donall Farmer

McGregor, who recently spent time training in Las Vegas, is set for his US debut at TD Garden and will hope to have the crowd on his side with a strong Irish community in Boston. Over the past six months, he has become the poster boy of Irish MMA and isn’t fazed by the added pressure that brings.

The Irish get behind us,” he said. “We could be losing 6-0 and our fans would get behind us in a packed stadium. I’m just happy to be one of those athletes to be get the support. I don’t dwell on it. If anything, give me more pressure. I carry it all on my shoulders.”

He also added that although he enjoys training in new environment as part of his contract, there would be no need to move away from home to further his career.

“My training is good over here and I don’t need to move abroad. Don’t get me wrong, I will travel and vary my training. But even when we had a team which was only two or three strong, I always felt that these guys are the best.

“My team-mates are the best. My gym is the best. We were in a little freezing cold hall in the middle of Harold’s Cross,  before we moved to a little industrial estate with a room which was no bigger than this room.”

UFC 163 will be live and exclusive on Setanta Sports this weekend and UFC fighter Conor ‘The Notorious’ McGregor was in Dublin today ahead of the event which takes place in the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro in the early hours of Sunday, 4th August 2013. Subscribe now for €19.99 per month either online or by calling our subscriber line on: 0818 20 30 40. From August 1st, Setanta Sports customers will be able to receive BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and the ESPN channel as part of the Setanta Sports Pack. This game changing deal means that Irish UFC fans will be able to watch over 30 live events per year, as well additional UFC programming such the Ultimate Fighter and Inside the Octagon.

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Ben Blake

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