Thursday 14 November 2019

Conor McGregor: Joe Duffy withdrawal 'delays the inevitable'

Fergus Ryan

He may not be involved in UFC Dublin tonight, but this week has been very much about Conor McGregor.

In the lead-up to the UFC's return it was easy to connect him to the event. He has three team-mates in Paddy Holohan, Cathal Pendred and Aisling Daly on the fight card.

The main event was supposed to be between Dustin Poirier and 'Irish' Joseph Duffy, both whom he has fought before. He has also been busy pressing the flesh this week at PR events around the city to promote the UFC.

We only got five minutes with 'The Notorious' but he managed to fire verbal volleys at most of the UFC fighters' roster.

He reserved his sternest words for Duffy, the last man to beat him.

Duffy sustained a concussion in an accident in training.

"Maybe this was good for Joe and it delays the inevitable. . . it delayed the fact that he would be exposed in there" McGregor said.

While the UFC and most of the MMA media are talking up Duffy's prospects, McGregor doesn't think he's cut from championship cloth.

Shortly after the news broke that Duffy was out, McGregor tweeted that he'd be willing to weigh-in and fight Poirier again. Was he serious?

"It would have been amazing to weigh in and fight with none of the other bull***t," he insisted.

"Roll up and weigh in? And get paid? That's all I want to do! If there was none of the other s**t and you just show up, weigh in and fight, I'd wipe out the whole roster in four months."

However, he's delighted for his team-mate Holohan who has been elevated to the main attraction. He reminded us that Holohan made his debut and fought first on the card at UFC Dublin last July and now he's the main event.

McGregor has become obsessed with the numbers associated with his career.

When he was coming up in UFC, it was just about wins and losses. Now he obsesses about the gate receipts, the pay per view buys, the endorsement deals and the bottom line of how much he gets paid.

A few weeks back €100m, the value of his new UFC contract, was being bounced around by the biggest name in the MMA game.

While discussing the new deal McGregor confirmed: "We're right there… I believe Lorenzo (Fertitta, UFC owner) and Dana (White, UFC president) will be in town this weekend and we'll do what we always do and that's toast big business.

"I'd imagine an announcement will come soon."

Conor McGregor was speaking at Life Style Sports on Grafton Street with thanks to Reebok. The official Reebok UFC range is available at the Life Style Sports Grafton St or Mary St stores.

UFC Fightnight Dublin,

Live, 3e, 8.0

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