Dana White has promised Ireland fans that the UFC will be coming to Croke Park – but Conor McGregor feels a bigger stadium is needed.
And the UFC chief may be right. An astonishing 67,000 people applied for tickets for yesterday’s boisterous final leg of McGregor and Jose Aldo’s World Tour to promote their hugely anticipated featherweight world title fight in Las Vegas on July 11.
Just 3,000 were successful, but the atmosphere and noise from the Convention Centre was akin to that of an All-Ireland Sunday in Croker.
While it was also confirmed that the UFC would be back in Dublin this year, it was clear what the fans wanted – a world title fight in GAA HQ.
Whether that is McGregor fighting to defend his world title or as a rematch against Aldo remains to be seen.
There were strong rumours that McGregor and Aldo would fight for the featherweight title in Croke Park this year but that was subsequently ruled out due to weather worries and the greater financial advantages of a Las Vegas showdown.
One thing is certain – UFC supremo White was engrossed by events in Dublin.
“Fifteen years I have been doing this and I have never seen any s*** like Dublin,” said White, who was decked out in an Ireland football jersey.
“I have literally never been at an event where I took my phone out and started filming.”
And when pushed on whether Ireland fans could expect a future UFC event in Croke Park, White was forthright with his answer.
“If I can get through all the ordinate stuff, I promise we will do Croke Park,” said White, much to the delight of an energetic Dublin crowd.
But McGregor wants Ireland to start building “mega-stadiums” as he begins to plan life after Aldo.
“It’s absolutely madness. We are after being on the tour and every city has blown us away and then we come here. 67,000 (applications). We need to start building mega-stadiums here. 150,000 I’m talking. I am blown away. Blown away,” he said.
On their impending dual in the MGM in Las Vegas this summer, McGregor has predicted a first-round knockout.
“It will be done in one,” claimed McGregor.