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Conor McGregor, Cole Miller collide in wild war of words on The MMA Hour

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Cole Miller took a shot in the dark last October, when after downing Andy Ogle in the Englishman's own backyard, he memorably went full heel and berated a host of European fighters on the mic, all to a downpour of boos from an already rowdy Manchester crowd.

But of course Miller saved the best for last, ending his the rant with an unexpected callout of Ireland's golden boy, Conor McGregor -- or as the American referred to him, "Colin McGoober."

Now, seven months later, Miller and McGregor are slated to settle their grudge match as the featured attraction of the UFC's first event in Ireland since 2009. But before the marketing blitz for UFC Fight Night 46 could even begin, the pair made a joint appearance on Monday's episode of The MMA Hour, and very quickly the segment became an instant classic.

"As soon as that man steps off the plane, he is stepping onto a battlefield," McGregor said once Miller made his opening remarks. "He knows it, I know it. He opened his mouth. I didn't even give a s--t about him. Nobody in the UFC gave a s--t about him. 18 fights in the UFC, or 17, I don't even know, and the motherf--ker couldn't even get off Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg rang and tried to get that man off Facebook. Nobody cares about him.

"He opened his mouth, he should've kept quiet. There's a Celtic saying, ‘many a times a man's mouth broke his nose.' And this is one more of those sayings. That man opens his mouth, and I'm going to break his nose."

"Man, he's talking about stopping me in the first round?" Miller said in response. "I'm going to be the one that stops him in the first round. His jaw is going to be so weak from running his mouth, the first punch I'm going to hit with is going to lay him out."

"Cole, I'm going to break you," McGregor replied. "You're too slow. You're the slowest motherf--ker I've ever seen! You're the slowest in the division!"

"Dude, I've been slower than everybody I've ever fought," Miller shot back. "I win and I'm slower, I'm weaker, I'm not as agile. I don't have any of those gifts. I'm just better than everybody that I beat, and I'm going to be better than you."

"I love it," McGregor responded. "You're slow, you're sloppy, you're less agile. I love it. Tell me more. Tell me more, Cole. You got yourself in trouble. Your mouth got you into trouble brother, yeah? You're going to pay for it. You're going to pay for what you said."

"I can't even understand what you're saying, man," Miller said.

This was just the beginning, but that's what you get when you play the game with McGregor.

More than a few UFC featherweights tried to insert their name alongside the Irishman's loquacious sideshow while he recovered from knee surgery, but Miller was the first, and the risk ultimately led to the biggest opportunity of Miller's career, plus the first headlining slot of his nine-year UFC tenure. So in that regard, Miller admits, he feels lucky.

At one point early in the conversation, Miller referred to the Irishman by his real first name, rather than the "McGoober" pet name which Miller first attached to him.

After heading that, McGregor immediately interrupted.

"See, when you opened your mouth and you called me ‘Colin,' or whatever the f--k you called me -- you know my f--king name," McGregor said. "I'm going to make you say my name. I'm going to make you say my name!"

"Okay," Miller replied. "Okay, Cassius Clay. Come on with it."

"Like I said before, 18 fights in the UFC. One time he mentions my name, and where does he end up? He ends up on the main event," McGregor continued. "I want him to thank me. I want him to thank me right now on this air, thank me for giving him this opportunity, for allowing him to have this main event slot."

"I appreciate it," Miller answered coldly. "I want to thank you for the easiest fight of my career. I really appreciate it. Conor, you're the man."

"18 fights. Honestly, I swear to God, I understand where you're coming from, man," McGregor answered back. "If I was in the UFC for 18 fights and I was in your situation, and I saw a motherf--ker like me coming up, I'd hate me too. I'd understand where you're coming from. But at the end of the day, your mouth got you into big, big trouble here. I know you're afraid. You're too slow for me, Cole. I'm going to break you in the first exchange."

Even two months out from UFC Fight Night 46, the heat between the two headliners was already quite apparent.

The rivalry isn't strictly confined to verbal back and forths, though, as the stylistic match-up is compelling in its own right.

Both of McGregor's professional losses have come via first-round submissions in under 40 seconds against relative unknowns. The last of those came against Joseph Duffy in 2010, and Miller, with his slick jiu-jitsu and 15 submission wins, appears to have the perfect skillset to exploit any weaknesses if McGregor hasn't shored up his ground game.

"What ground game?" Miller declared. "Joe Duffy, and some other dude that I already forgot. I just looked it up 20 minutes ago and I already forgot his name, too. These guys made him look like nothing. I've said it in other interviews. He will never, never ever, no matter who long he trains, be as good as I am on the ground right now, and I'm still getting better. He's a joke on the floor, and when I get him there, it's going to be over in the first grappling exchange."

"Look, I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with Cole Miller," McGregor replied. "In fact, I actually, I kinda like Cole Miller. I kinda love Cole Miller. I love him like my b---h.

"He can talk about my ground game," McGregor continued. "He can talk about my opponents, he can talk about my past. At the end of the day, he is talking about me. Cole Miller, in this industry, is what you call a jobber. A jobber a guy that's brought in to make the good guys look good."

"What are all those guys that I beat?" Miller responded. "If I'm a jobber, what are they?"

"I'm looking past you, Cole," McGregor went on to say. "I want the gold. Jose is a schmuck. Chad's a schmuck. Cub's a schmuck. Your teammate Dustin (Poirier) is a schmuck. All you guys are schmucks, yeah? This division is filled with a who's who of has beens and rookies. You are on the ‘has been' list. Nobody gives a s--t, Cole."

At this point McGregor took over the conversation, referring to Miller as a "tall, lanky stick" who was "weak in the midsection." He chided Miller to bring with him ATT teammate Dustin Poirier, who McGregor affectionately referred to as "Peahead," and stated that after the fight, he'd make sure to take Miller around Dublin and show him a good time.

"He thinks the fans are stupid," Miller finally said. "So he's just going to keep recycling s--t that people have already said in the past, Muhammad Ali's already said, he's stealing some stuff from Rocky movies. He thinks very little of his fans. He thinks he's so original."

"Cole, what the f--k are you talking about," McGregor shot back. "In this game, people get confused. People forget about the art and focus on the game, and then there's people that focus on the game and forget about the art. There's that specific, special individual that can do both, and when that door shuts, you are looking at that specific individual.

"Cole, you're 42. You're balding. Nobody gives a s--t. Facebook! Mention my name and what have you got? Facebook is what you were on! That's what you were on! You were on Facebook your last fight! You mention my name, and now you're main event. Like I said before, I want you to thank me right now, this second.

"And bring Dustin with you. I want Dustin. I want Dustin bad, yeah? I wanted a top-10! I don't give a s--t about you! I didn't ask for you! I wanted a top-10. You're a schmuck. You're a has been. You're a nobody."

And so it went, venom being traded back and forth between the featherweights, often at the same time, making for an unintelligible but supremely entertaining pre-fight stew filled with all flavors of assorted boasts and insults.

"I think I'm stylistically the worst match-up for Conor, so I was kind of unsure if they were going to do it," Miller said at one point.

"It will take less than 10 seconds for to be on the ground before I catch him in a submission."

"Cole, please," McGregor answered. "Please, Cole. You have not got a hope in hell. You are a jobber. You were brought in here to lose. You know it, I know it, and they know it."

That statement led to Miller being asked if he felt like the UFC specifically wanted him to lose against McGregor on July 19.

"Well I think they've invested a lot into him with marketing and things like that," he answered.

"Say it right now! Say it right now!" McGregor shouted back. "Say what you know! You know they want you to lose! Say that to me right now."

"Yeah, I just said that. I just said that. I already said it."

"Good girl."

Miller went on to add that, at least for a time, he wasn't sure if the bout would even be booked.

After suffering a complete ACL tear, MCL strain and posterior horn meniscal tear in his left knee nine months ago, McGregor's injury led many to question whether the popular Irishman could ever return with enough time to spearhead the UFC's return to Dublin.

But the man they call "Notorious" never doubted his comeback for a second.

"When this injury happened," McGregor said. "And I had to sit on the sidelines and watch all these has beens and all these rookies take center stage, I set myself to the easiest, easiest goal ever. To come back better than anyone has ever come back before. Trust me, he is going to feel speed like he has never felt before. I am the fastest in the division. I'm too fast for this man."

"But you're not the best," Miller interrupted. "You're not the best. You've got all this speed without the skills. You have no fundamentals. None."

"Tell me how fast I am," McGregor cut in. "Tell me right now how fast I am. I've got all this speed? You're right. You are correct. Tell me again how fast I am. I love it. I swear to God, it turns me on when you tell me this."

Finally, after McGregor called Miller an "advanced blue belt" and traded barbs about Miller's "basic" top game, Miller was asked to give his own thoughts on the fight, how he felt it was going to play out and what McGregor's strategy would be.

And to no one's surprise, he didn't back down from his comments.

"I think he's going to try to avoid the fight as much as possible," Miller said. "I think he's going to try to use all his footwork to dance around. He's not going to engage. Like you said, you could do this all day. That means you're planning on stretching this out. I'm going to be trying to take you out of there from the first second to the 25th minute. That's going to be it."

"You think I'm going to try to avoid the fight?" McGregor scoffed. "Cole, please, you're going to be on your back foot from the bell. We are going to collide, and you are going to collapse, and that is the end of it.

"July 19th, I am going to open up this division. I'm going to show what I know. I'm going to show what everyone else knows. I'm the most feared man in this division. Nobody wants a piece! You don't even want a piece! I know you don't want a piece! You spoke my name when the adrenaline was running high, and then the adrenaline came back down and you ran out of the cage! And then all of a sudden you calmed down, and you were like, ‘actually, I don't mind him. He's okay, actually.' I understand, you had that post-fight adrenaline. I understand. But unfortunately for you, it has got you into deep, deep trouble."

"Man, after I get that performance of the night bonus," Miller vowed in closing. "I'm going to make sure I buy his mom a caravan, periwinkle blue."

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