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Conor McGregor tries to steal spotlight, predicts first-round KO of Dustin Poirier

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Esther Lin

LOS ANGELES - Conor McGregor looked, and talked, like a man who was determined to regain the spotlight.

McGregor prattled on for a bit at the UFC 178 fan Q and A on Tuesday about his dapper suit and the glittering new gold Rolex watch he was wearing, which he claimed cost $50,000.

The spectacle was enough to get Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier - who grabbed the attention of the MMA and even mainstream sports world with their Monday brawl - to stop sniping at one another for a few moments and bust out in laughter.

Hell, even Dustin Poirier, McGregor's opponent on Sept. 27 in Las Vegas, had to struggle to keep from smirking.

But that was the only time McGregor let up on his fellow featherweight throughout the downtown gathering at Club Nokia. McGregor went at his opponent early and often Tuesday, ripping into everything from Poirier's upbringing to what he calls his opponent's weak chin.

"Don't get me wrong, I like the kid," McGregor said. "He's a quiet little hillbilly. I have nothing against the guy. I'm sure he grew up in a circus or a fair, he's a nice little kid. His cousin's probably named Cletus or something."

McGregor was asked how he saw the fight going down, and he made no attempt to sugarcoat things, saying Poirier has a history of getting wobbled and that things would be no different by the time next month rolled around.

"All you gotta do is look at his last couple of fights," McGregor said. "The last contest he had, he fought a TUF reject and nobody gives a s-- about him. His chin is deteriorating. Every single contest he gets into, he gets hit, and he gets to one knee. A gust of wind hits him, and he does the chicken dance. Against me, I'm going to crack him with a jab and he's going to wobble and I'm going to put him away. It's going to be a first-round KO, mark my words."

Poirier, for his part, stayed level-headed in the face of McGregor's verbal barrage. Prior to the event, he explained to MMAFighting.com why he feels he's the man to stop the bombastic Irishman.

"I'm not the same fighter I used to be," said Poirier. "I was training at a small gym back then. Now I'm with the American Top Team, I'm a better fighter, I'm a more patient fighter, I've improved in every aspect. That guy has been talking so much trash, someone's got to shut him up. He's going to talk and talk and that's okay, he won't be talking after Sept. 27."

Poirier is right about McGregor's mouth. The fighter called "Notorious" had words for fellow featherweight Dennis Siver, who is currently on suspension for failing a postfight test. Siver had complained about McGregor being placed No. 9 in the UFC featherweight rankings.

"My thoughts on Dennis Siver is he's a midget German steroid head, that's my thoughts on him," McGregor said. "But you said congratulations I'm now No. 9, if you think I celebrate No. 9 you're highly mistaken my friend, I don't give a s-- about rankings, I'm No. 1."

With that, McGregor pivoted back to Poirier. McGregor contrasted his own main-event experience, where he defeated Diego Brandao in Dublin last month, to his opponent's only main-event foray. Poirier lost to Chan Sung Jung via fourth-round submission in MMAFighting.com's 2012 Fight of the Year.

"He main evented one UFC event and lost," McGregor said. "I main evented in my hometown and it was one of the best UFC events in history and I stopped the guy in one round. He will know pretty early that he's in over his head. He'll wake up, and he'll bow before me."

It was a vintage McGregor verbal performance. It's one he plans to back up with his actions in the cage, as he explained to MMAFighting.com backstage before the Q and A.

"I don't feel pressure to steal the show, but I will steal the show," McGregor said. "I feel I will steal the show. I believe myself and Jon, it's myself and Jon's card here. Nobody else."