Thursday 14 December 2017

'I'm like Rocky Balboa and Clubber Lang' - Conor McGregor in flying form ahead of Aldo showdown

Conor McGregor is set to face Jose Aldo on 12th December
Conor McGregor is set to face Jose Aldo on 12th December

Tom Rooney

He still has the not so small matter of dethroning featherweight champion Jose Aldo to navigate, but Conor McGregor has already set his sights firmly on capturing the UFC lightweight title in the near future.

In the UFC’s 22 year history no fighter has ever simultaneously held belts in two different weight classes. Randy Couture and BJ Penn were both two-division champions, though never in the same moment.

McGregor has immediate plans to be the first man to achieve this feat. In fact, he’s already done something similar, albeit on a smaller scale.

Prior to signing with the UFC in 2013, he held the Cage Warriors light and featherweight crowns and, once he’s dealt with Aldo on December 12 at UFC 194 in Las Vegas, McGregor plans to  plot his course for the 155lbs bracket.

The week after he faces Aldo, lightweight title-holder Rafael Dos Anjos will make the first defence of his crown against Donald Cerrone, both of whom McGregor has previously put on notice.

Speaking on a UFC conference call, it was put to McGregor that if victorious  would he grant Aldo - the only UFC featherweight champion ever- an immediate rematch. He was typically forthright.

“If he can give me a war and earn a rematch, then he can have a rematch," said McGregor. “I just don’t see him answering the bell for the second round. I can’t see his face or his body in the second round. I see him KO’d inside one.  If you can KO a man inside one then there’s no need for a rematch.

“I’m looking to emulate what I achieved in my previous promotion and collect two belts in two different weight divisions. To hold them consecutively, defend them consecutively and carry on. I’m going to go in there (UFC 194) and perform and stake my claim as the number one pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.”

Invariably, the Dubliner was asked how he manages to balance his fight- preparation with his increasingly considerable media obligations and if fame and wealth have diluted his focus.

Even by his standards, the ensuing answer was incredible. Apparently, in himself, he sees two of Hollywood’s most revered pugilists.

“Right now tonight I’m going to head and do the Jimmy Kimmel show, I’m going to head back to my gym and do some positional sparring tonight and carry on. Its business as usual; this is the life I’ve created and there’s no one better at this.

“Recently I watched Rocky III. If you watch Rocky III at the start of it, he’s got seven cars and this robot that brings him coffee and stuff and he's doing all these ads and talk shows.

“He’s getting sloppy and lazy, and then meanwhile Clubber Lang is in an alleyway, sprinting, throwing shots, visualising and I kind of smiled watching that.

“Because I’m like Rocky in that I have the big houses, cars, robots brining me coffee every morning and then, at the same time, I’m also like Clubber Lang. I’m training like Clubber but I’m living like Rocky. I think I have a perfect balance right now. I’m living good and I’m training hard,” he said.

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