Diego Brandao is not bothered by trash talk or Irish fans.
With Cole Miller forced out of the UFC Fight Night Dublin card on July 19, Brandao steps in to face Conor McGregor at the O2 Arena in Ireland, and he wants to get back to the win column after a disappointing loss to Dustin Poirier.
"It’s going to be a really interesting fight," Brandao told MMAFighting.com. "He likes to fight standing and so do I, so we’re going at it. It’s going to be a great show for the UFC fans. I’m going to Ireland to beat him. I will do my job in there. If the win comes in the first round or the last round it’s okay, what really matters is that it comes."
"I was really happy when my manager Ivan Jatoba called me saying that the UFC wanted me in a main event against Conor McGregor," he continued. "I’ve been through some hard moments last year, and at the beginning of this year, and I have to thank God, Sean Shelby, Dana White and Joe Silva for believing in me and giving me this main event."
"He’s an excellent fighter standing or on the ground," he said. "I have yet to set a game plan for this fight, but if the fight goes to the ground I will be ready and it’s going to be really hard for him."
Brandao had two fights canceled in 2014 and McGregor hasn’t competed since August due to a knee injury. Will ring rust make a difference in the fight?
"Maybe it does because training is different from fighting, but it’s a main event and I can’t even think about it," Brandao said. "We need to stay focused to do a great fight for the fans. I want to see Dana White smiling right next to the Octagon and congratulating me after the fight, saying that he’s proud of my performance."
McGregor has ripped every featherweight fighter in interviews over the past months, but Brandao doesn’t care about it at all.
"It’s part of the promotion," he said. "The more you sell and get attention to your fight the better. We had our issues in the past, but I’m not in the mood to talk at all. If he wants to talk, I won’t care. I know that deep in there he respects me. I felt it when we met. I will answer him inside the Octagon. When the door closes, words won’t win the fight.
"Saying that he’s the best in the world is bulls--t," he continued. "Obviously, he’s not. He knows that he’s not, and he has a lot to prove to be a top 10 in the UFC. Talking trash only makes me more motivated to train for the fight. While he’s talking, I’m training."
Brandao, the winner of the 14th season of The Ultimate Fighter, is not worried about fighting McGregor in Ireland either.
"I don’t feel any pressure at all. I’ve been through a lot of things in my life, so fighting in Ireland, Brazil or United States doesn’t matter to me," he said. "I actually like this, to be honest. I’m sure that the arena will be full of Brazilians because there are a lot of Brazilians in Ireland. I know that the Brazilians will be there to support me."
McGregor expects a title shot with a win over Brandao. So, what does a win on July 19 brings to the Brazilian?
"Many people consider me a top 10 fighter already," he said. "I cared about it in the past, but I won’t even think about it now. I will go there, beat him and then I’ll see where I am in the rankings."