“I told him, everything’s going to be ay-okay. It will be over before you know it.”
“This guy is a dead man walking, that’s who this guy is.”
That’s the kind of rhetoric we’ve come accustomed to when listening to Conor McGregor speak about his upcoming opponent Jose Aldo. But somethings been a bit different about the brash Irishman since he’s made his way to Vegas for Saturday’s main event.
“I’m in a state of zen,” said McGregor Wednesday at the UFC 194 press conference.
The fight that’s more than a year in the making will finally take place Saturday. McGregor and Aldo were set to face-off back in July, but the champion had to pull out due to a rib injury. McGregor, after making multiple gynecologist references about Aldo’s injury, beat Chad Mendes to win the interim featherweight title.
But this new zen-like McGregor is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Before his last fight he consistently called Mendes a twerp. During the world tour to promote his fight with Aldo, McGregor rarely said anything that could be printed.
Now, he’s calm, collected, and as he says, “ready to take out the body in front of him.”
Is this the evolution of the fighter who’s been compared to Mohammed Ali, or is it simply just a man uber focused on the biggest, and toughest, fight of his life?
Even the new found calm McGregor couldn’t help himself when asked about the outcome of the fight, “it will be wrapped up within one round.”
We’ll find out Saturday. One way or the other, we’ll learn a lot about a fighter the UFC world has learned to love or hate.
UFC 194 is just part of the massive weekend in store here in Las Vegas. The UFC will host three events in consecutive nights starting Thursday at the Cosmopolitan. Paige VanZant and Rose Namajunas will headline a night highlighting youth at UFC Fight Night 80 Thursday. Then “The Ultimate Fighter” finale will crown a champion of the UFC’s reality TV show before pitting featherweight contenders Chad Mendes and Frankie Edgar in the main event.