Thursday 14 November 2019

EXCLUSIVE Conor McGregor: I am not certain Jose Aldo will show up in December

Conor McGregor with Hector O hEochagain and John Kavanagh, Conor's trainer at the Wright Venue in Swords. Picture: Arthur Carron
Conor McGregor with Hector O hEochagain and John Kavanagh, Conor's trainer at the Wright Venue in Swords. Picture: Arthur Carron

Tom Rooney

Perhaps it’s a case of once bitten, twice shy, but Conor McGregor does not foresee Jose Aldo reporting for duty in Las Vegas for their featherweight title unification bout at UFC 194 in December.

Of course, the pair were scheduled to fight for Aldo’s title at UFC 189 in July, only for the Brazilian to withdraw on two weeks’ notice due a rib injury, which many, including McGregor, felt he fabricated.

Chad Mendes stepped in to take on McGregor for an interim title, with the Dubliner winning by TKO in round two.

Subsequently, the Crumlin native has assumed superstar status, and he and Aldo have been booked to conclude business on December 12 in the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

However, even with the bout expected to yield recording-breaking revenues, the 27-year-old remains sceptical.

“If he shows up - I’m still not sold that he’ll show up. I’ve spent four days filming for the UFC countdown show to be released in a couple of weeks; they’ve been following me to training, following me here and there," McGregor told at last night's The Takeover Q&A: Powered by Reebok, in association with at the Wright Venue.

“But they aren’t filming him, because they said nothing’s changed since the last time, but he pulled out, that changed. How can you film a man pulling out of a contest and not have him and his coach answer for it.

“I’m not a million pc he’ll show up. If he shows up, he’ll be too emotional and, even if I half feint, he’ll overreact and drain all his energy. He’ll overload on a shot, I’ll slip and big him with a left hand and put him away."

The UFC returns to Dublin’s 3Arena this Saturday for an event which will feature six Irish fighters, and McGregor’s absence has been conspicuous in the lack of promotion compared to the show he headlined last July, which proved a victorious homecoming.

Dressed decidedly casual by his own dapper standards, though sitting with his gold UFC belt propped before him at the Wright Venue in Dublin, McGregor said that his next bout on Irish soil will be on a grander scale.

“I asked to be on the card, I would have liked to be on the card but is what it is. When I come back it’ll be big. I’ll bide my time, and I‘ll unify this belt in Vegas in December and then come back.”

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