Brash and outspoken Irish UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor has already begun his patented trash towards his next opponent, 155-pound title holder Rafael dos Anjos.
The two men will do battle in the main event of March 5’s UFC 197, as McGregor attempts to become the first fighter in UFC history to hold two belts simultaneously. The “Notorious” one came into the UFC as a two-weight world champion in Cage Warriors, but dos Anjos doesn’t appear to be impressed with McGregor’s “amateur” accomplishments:
“UFC lightweight division isn’t the belt he got in Ireland when he fought a guy with a record of 2-7,” Dos Anjos told MMAFighting.com. “It’s a different world. He fought guys that don’t even have Sherdog pages. He holds belts off his amateur show in Ireland. It’s a different story to hold two UFC belts.”
As far as the talking goes, the Brazilian champion feels as if once he hits McGregor, it’s a whole different story:
“Lightweight division is a different story. We’ll see. Everybody talks. Anthony Pettis talked before the fight. Donald Cerrone talked before the fight. See what happened? I’ll let him talk and we’ll see what happens. I hope he’s training hard. I think he’s going to be scared once I hit him.”
The Irishman completed his triumphant rise to the pinnacle of the 145-pound division last month, shockingly knocking out former long-time boss Jose Aldo in a mere 13-seconds. Now hungry for more, McGregor has decided to play his card against the big boys, and dos Anjos admits that the “Notorious” one has nothing to lose.
Despite this, RDA doesn’t feel any pressure, as he’s just excited with the fight coming to fruition:
“He doesn’t have anything to lose,” said Dos Anjos. “He’s a smart guy. He knows that if he loses to [featherweight contenders] Jose Aldo or Frankie Edgar, he doesn’t have anything. But at lightweight, if he wins, he’s the man. If he loses, he still has his belt.
“I don’t feel any pressure. I have to take care of my family, my team and my legacy. It’s one more fight. There isn’t anything special in this fight. I’m just happy to put my hands on this guy and make him humble. I think the toughest part of this camp will be not putting my hands on him before the fight happens.”
The bout was confirmed earlier this week, and McGregor wasted no time spitting out a controversial comment, calling dos Anjos a traitor to his country, and dedicating the bout to Brazil. As far as the champion is concerned, the Irish star is simply crazy:
“It doesn’t make any sense,” Dos Anjos said of McGregor’s comments. “We have a lot of Brazilians in the United States. It doesn’t mean we’re traitors to our country. I’ve got kids and I had to move for different things like better wrestling training partners here. I think that was a frustrated way to try to win the Brazilian fans. This guy is out of his mind. He’s going to try to do his best to try to mess with my head. I don’t hate him, but the Brazilians do. Brazil is on my side.”
Who will take over the lightweight division come March?