With the UFC 189 media tour kicking off in Brazil, tensions between headliners Jose Aldo and the “Notorious” Conor McGregor have hit new heights. The two are set to square off in July with Aldo’s long-held featherweight title on the line. Shortly after the tour begun, McGregor’s brash, outspoken personality has been in full force, and has even brought some talk out of the usually subtle champion.

The first press conference of the tour took place today (March 20, 2015), the Irishman got right to work with his talk, claiming that he was the king of Aldo’s home city, Rio de Janeiro:

“I own this town. I own Rio de Janeiro. I’m sitting up here with my feet on the desk. What’s anyone up there going to do about it? Not one of yous are going to do anything about it. My name, the McGregor name, my family’s motto … means royal is in my blood. That goes way back. So for [Aldo] to say he is the king and I am the joker, if this was a different time, I would invade his favela on horseback and kill anyone that was not fit to work. But we are in a new time. So I’ll whoop his ass in July.”

However, the only champion in UFC featherweight history fired back by reassuring everyone that he was the king of Rio and even going as far to say that McGregor is only where he is because of his talk:

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“The owner of Rio? Wow. [McGregor] doesn’t even own Dublin,” Aldo said through a translator. “He’s said a lot and done nothing. I’ve had many fights here, always been here, and everyone knows who’s the king of Rio. So I don’t even give a damn what he says.

“He’s not as good as he thinks he is. He just got here because of what he talks. That’s what made him get here. He’s never fought against a good fighter. He’s never fought any good fighter in this division who could give him any risks, but at least let’s say, he’s bringing us a lot of things here. But you can all be rest assured, he’s just another one.”

The dominant champion will without a doubt be the toughest test of McGregor’s career. He may also have a point when he says McGregor got to the lofty position he enjoy now only because of his silver-tongued trash talk. Of course the Irishman is 5-0 in the UFC and has looked spotless, but he really hasn’t faced a true top contender.

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However, when you ask the “Notorious” one, he sees no talent in the rest of the division, and he’s ready to take the belt:

“They all suck, in my opinion,” McGregor said. “(Chad) Mendes is five-foot-five. His reach, I put my hand and hold my hand on his forehead and he wouldn’t be able to hit me. He got in and he lit Aldo up, so I don’t care about their criticisms. Now I’m fighting Jose. Now I’m going to take the belt and I’m going to wipe out the division.”

After the press conference, the two men took part in their first official staredown, and it got intense as expected. Aldo wasn’t too surprised either, as McGregor famously leapt out of the Octagon to get in Aldo’s face after he beat Dennis Siver at UFC Fight Night 59. Aldo didn’t put much faith in that confrontation, however, noting that against him, Dublin’s superstar is in big trouble:

“He did what he always did,” Aldo said. “He’s just a fool. He’s a fool. If he really came up to me, he would’ve jumped and did it. He would’ve come. He just stood in front of the security guard to not even get close to me. He just does that kind of thing to make fun. But with me, he’s in deep s**t. He’s in deep s**t.

Everyone is well aware of McGregor’s confidence, but the Brazilian is just as confident, and he should be considering his lengthy title run. Continuing on, Aldo showed off a different side of himself; a darker side so to say, claiming that he’s going to run through the “Notorious” one:

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“I was created in the streets. I’m a street fighter. I’m just going to run him over, like anyone here in Brazil knows, like we are brought up here. I’m not discriminating anyone, for those who have and don’t have, but I’m Brazilian. I’m just going to run him over. I don’t care. There’s no friendship after that. Friendship is for him and his friends. This is totally different. Not with me.”

Will the hype train known as Conor McGregor continue until gold is wrapped around his waist, or will Jose Aldo continue his reign of dominance this July?

Sports media and journalism student watching from the East Coast. I'm a young writer with a passion for mixed martial arts looking to make my mark as a journalist. Email: [email protected]