Conor McGregor on Aug. 17 fight: 'The opponent does not enter the equation'

Esther Lin

Conor McGregor refused to talk about his Aug. 17 opponent, Max Holloway, even though the featherweight contest promises to bring fireworks to Boston's TD Garden.

"The opponent does not come into the equation," The Dubliner said on Wednesday's edition of The MMA Hour. "This is my spot. The Irish are coming home era. Coming to Boston. The Irishmen are coming home to their native land, Boston, United States. The opponent does not come into the equation. I am the main event. If you stick me in the main event, I'm going to steal the show every time."

He did, however, have a more than a few words for his originally scheduled opponent, Andy Ogle, who had to drop out due to a staph infection.

"Andy had a staph infection 25 weeks out of the fight, six weeks out or whatever," McGregor said. "Staph infection is a little bit of cream and a lot antibiotics for five days max. So your training is off for five days. You know what I mean? the fight was only training six weeks away, but it is what it is."

In case you haven't caught on yet, the talkative McGregor is also the president of his own fan club. Contrasting himself to Ogle, McGregor said, "I don't complain, I don't bitch, I don't moan. The fact I have to travel around, he had to travel as well, to Canada and to Vegas to get the visa, I'm sure that played into the decision. Like I don't bitch, I don't moan, I get it done. I can travel around and disrupt my training because I'm always in shape. I squeeze it in anywhere."

These are heady times for the fighter who has the potential to become the UFC's first Irish-born superstar. McGregor earned Knockout of the Night honors in his UFC debut on April 6 in Sweden, when he made short work of Marcus Brimage. From there, UFC president Dana White took a shine to him, taking McGregor out on the town in Las Vegas, video of which made the rounds on YouTube.

"I used to drive my girlfriend in a Puegeot 206," said McGregor. "And I don't know if you have Peugeot 206s over in America, but they're little small bangers, and there was smoke coming down in the engine, it used to shake down the road, but in my head I was cruising down the Las Vegas strip in a Ferrari with the don besides me and then fast forward five years and what happens? I'm cruising down the Strip with the Don. In my head, this was always going on. I'm borderline insane. That's why I'm so damn dangerous."

As to why the boss took a liking to him, the 25-year-old McGregor can only speculate.

"I don't know," he said. "He's from Southie, which is the Irish part of Boston, I don't know why. I don't think any other prelim guys have gone out with the don, only the main eventers go out with the don, I don't know. I'm sure, I'm Irish, he has some Irish in him as well, the Irish heritage. I'm here to fight, I stay in shape, I stay ready. I suppose all those things make him like me. Honestly, I don't know."

While McGregor's UFC career seems to have taken off as fast as White's Ferrari, the fighter insists that he's going to keep his head on his shoulders and his feet on the ground. If for no other reason than he doesn't want the ride to end.

"I don't get comfortable, I don't get complacent," McGregor said. "I went out for dinner with the Don, we went out for a meal, and I was saying to him, just because we're here now and going for meals and s--, don't think I'm going to be getting comfortable, don't think I'm going to do what a lot of these schmucks have done. They got lazy, they got sloppy and sluggish. Come fight time they show up and they're out of shape, their shots are off. Me, I don't get complacent, if anything, these kinds of things, and all this going on spoils me to work harder. I use this as motivation."

And, oh yeah, there's one other motivator: McGregor needs some more of that bonus cash. "I have a gambling problem," McGregor confessed. "I need to get back in there start making money again. Absolutely everything, I'll gamble on the weather if you want to give me odds. ... People saying I can't bet on myself. I don't know whether that's allowed. It's not as if I'm betting against myself. Then obviously there's something funky about that. But if I'm betting on myself to win, how's that not allowed? People are telling me I can't bet on myself. I don't know. I have a gambling problem."

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