“There’s two things I really like to do, and that’s whoop ass and look good. I’m doing one of them right now and on Saturday night I’m doing the other.”
That quote pretty much sums up why the UFC believes Conor McGregor (13-2) is their next big superstar. The Irishman, who unleashed the line during Thursday’s “UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen” press conference, has only fought once inside the Octagon, but it appears the UFC is convinced April’s TKO victory over Marcus Brimage was enough to start formulating a hype train around the featherweight.
The UFC made it a point to include McGregor in their return to Boston, which contains a heavy Irish contingent. They had McGregor host his own media workout Wednesday at Peter Welch’s famed gym – something the company rarely does for main event fighters, let alone preliminary card contestants. And to ensure every Irishman knows exactly who “Notorious” is, they plastered his face on his very own Fox Sports 1 poster (see above).
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Chael Sonnen, who headline Saturday’s show, don’t even have their own billboards.
“These posters that we made, I literally sent them to every Irish bar in Boston, New York, Kansas City, San Francisco,” UFC president Dana White boasted yesterday. “You can’t walk in a place in Dublin where there isn’t a poster of him down there. England. We did this poster thing all over the country here to kind of introduce the Irish to him.”
With so much hoopla surrounding a 25-year-old entering just his second UFC affair, what happens if McGregor starts believing his own hype and, God forbid, loses to Max Holloway?
“It could happen,” White stated. “I mean, Max Holloway, I didn’t want the whole poster thing to take away from who [McGregor's] fighting. Max Holloway is a real dude. These guys are both two tough, up-and-coming guys. But at the end of the day, I’m a promoter. That’s what you do.
“If there’s something there, if there’s a spark, I want to light a fire. That’s what we did with Conor. If Conor loses, there’s a bunch of cool posters of Conor McGregor hanging all over the Irish bars somewhere.”
TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts hosts Saturday’s festivities.