McGregor predicts first-round KO of 'broke bum' Alvarez at Madison Square Garden

“He gets cracked, he gets dropped, it’s happened throughout his career.”

UFC 205 Mixed Martial Arts Eddie Alvarez and Conor McGregor square off at the UFC 205 press conference. Source: Julie Jacobson

THERE WAS NEVER likely to be any doubt about who the main attraction is for UFC 205, but Conor McGregor used last night’s press conference at Madison Square Garden to cement his status as the star of the UFC’s debut show in New York City.

After it was announced in the early hours of yesterday morning that McGregor, the reigning UFC featherweight champion, will challenge defending lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez in the main event at the iconic venue on 12 November, the pair squared off for the first time in front of journalists and a large congregation of enthusiastic fans.

Despite hailing from Philadelphia, less than a hundred miles to the south west, it quickly became clear that Alvarez was no home favourite for those in attendance. While McGregor was greeted by chants of ‘Conor! Conor! Conor!’ and ‘Olé, Olé, Olé’, Alvarez’s first answer was roundly booed.

“You ain’t got a shot. Your coach knows you ain’t got a shot and anybody who knows anything about fighting knows that you ain’t got a shot,” insisted Alvarez, who’ll be defending the strap for the first time after he scored a first-round TKO of Rafael Dos Anjos in July to become UFC lightweight champion.

“Just another broke bum trying to sell some shit,” was McGregor’s description of Alvarez. The Dubliner claimed that he’s set to end the year having earned $40million in 2016. His clash with Alvarez will be his third pay-per-view headliner of the year. McGregor’s bouts against Nate Diaz — in March and August — both set new UFC PPV records.

“He’s broke and he’s desperate,” McGregor said. “He’s like, ‘McGregor’s this and McGregor’s that’. We’ve heard it all before. He’s just another broke bum that can’t afford to pay his fucking bills. That’s all that is.”

Source: UFC - Ultimate Fighting Championship/YouTube

The UFC’s inaugural visit to New York City is a big deal for the organisation and there was only one man who could have done the occasion justice as a headliner. The fight between Alvarez and McGregor was only officially agreed late on Monday night, but McGregor insisted that he wasn’t responsible for the delay.

UFC president Dana White claimed last week that an injury McGregor was still carrying from last month’s victory over Diaz was set to rule him out of the Madison Square Garden show, but the Irish superstar had a different take on the situation.

“That fight was five weeks ago. I came out of that fight fresher than I went in. Look at Nate’s face. Nate will never look the same. I came out brand new. I had a bruised foot,” McGregor said.

“I agreed to this fight 10 days ago. I agreed to all of this. I don’t know what was going on. Something was going on with that other side. But I was chilling here, waiting for the call, and then the call came last minute. I jumped on a plane and here we are. I’m brand new.”

He added: “The Irish, we built this damn town. We built this city, now we’re back, now we’re coming to claim what’s ours, so it’s an honour to be here. Coming in here, listening to all these fans, it truly is a dream come true.

“I cannot wait to perform for you. I’m going to take out one of your own, I’m going to cash your own money, but make no mistake: it’s all love. The Irish love New York and I’m honoured to be here.”

MMA - UFC 205 McGregor says he expects to end the year having earned $40million in 2016. Source: Julie Jacobson

McGregor has been allowed to retain his featherweight title, in spite of the fact that his clash with Alvarez will be his third fight outside of the division. Dana White has insisted that the 28-year-old will have to vacate one belt if he manages to win a second one in November, but — again — McGregor’s outlook is much different.

“I’m going to wrap one on one shoulder, I’m going to wrap the other on the other shoulder, and you’re going to need a fucking army to come and take them belts off me,” he said.

Having defeated Diaz in a welterweight bout, he’s now keen to conquer at lightweight: “I’m very happy with the 155lbs weight limit. I feel, of all the divisions I’ve ran around and ran through, 155 will be the one where I take over the most, so I look forward to that.”

Alvarez, who teased McGregor over the “little boy belt” currently in his possession, questioned his opponent’s stamina, which came in for some criticism following his gruelling 25-minute battle with Diaz at UFC 202 in Las Vegas.

“I think this guy has got eight minutes of fight in him — that’s it,” Alvarez said. “He quits after eight minutes, every fight. He’s not a championship fighter, he’s never been, and he’s never, ever fought anyone in the UFC like me.”

Alvarez added: “He spent $300,000 on that last [training] camp and gassed out eight minutes in.”

Source: UFC - Ultimate Fighting Championship/YouTube

Asked for his prediction, McGregor was adamant that he won’t need much time to make history by becoming the first fighter to hold two UFC belts at the same time. He clinched the featherweight title last December courtesy of a first-round knockout of Jose Aldo.

“He’s chinny. He gets cracked, he gets dropped, it’s happened throughout his career,” McGregor said. “He’s a weathered fighter, he’s on his way out, he’s very, very lucky to be in the position he’s in. One round it will take me to knock him out.”

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Paul Dollery

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