UFC Belfast

McGregor continues to motivate the man who succeeded him as a Cage Warriors champion

Stevie Ray has been inspired by the Dubliner’s remarkable success. / YouTube

LAST WEEKEND IN New York, Conor McGregor made history by becoming the first fighter in history to hold two UFC belts at the same time.

McGregor’s second-round TKO victory over Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in New York saw him repeat a feat he achieved with his previous promotion. Prior to joining the UFC in 2013, the 28-year-old Dubliner was also the featherweight and lightweight champion for Cage Warriors Fighting Championship.

When McGregor vacated the belts in order to make the move to the UFC, Stevie Ray capitalised by winning a four-man tournament to become the next Cage Warriors lightweight champion. Eighteen months later, Ray joined McGregor in the UFC.

The Scotsman returns to action for his fifth UFC outing this Saturday night. He’ll take on Ross Pearson in the co-main event at UFC Fight Night 99, which will take place at the SSE Arena in Belfast.

Ray started his UFC tenure with three consecutive victories — including a defeat of Mickael Lebout in Dublin in October of last year — but he suffered a disappointing setback in his last outing. The 26-year-old lost via unanimous decision to Alan Patrick in Brazil back in September.

Ross Pearson and Stevie Ray Ross Pearson and Stevie Ray at this afternoon's UFC Fight Night 99 media event in Belfast. Presseye / Brian Little/INPHO Presseye / Brian Little/INPHO / Brian Little/INPHO

Ray is keen to bounce back by getting the better of Pearson this weekend, and he’s been inspired to do so by the continuing success of his fellow former Cage Warriors lightweight title-holder.

“He [Conor McGregor] only motivates me,” Ray told The42 at this afternoon’s UFC Fight Night 99 media event in Belfast. “He was like the same as me — somebody who didn’t really have much money and struggled before.

“He was Cage Warriors champ, he obviously gave up the belt to go to the UFC, I then won his belt and then he started doing well in the UFC.

“Obviously I was following that, I had a little setback with my last fight, but after Saturday night that’ll be me back up there and looking to keep doing what he’s doing.”

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