BOSTON – Upon defeating Dennis Siver in Sunday night's main event at UFC Fight Night 59, Conor McGregor did a victory lap around the Octagon draped in the Irish flag.
He also hopped over the wall and exchanged words with current featherweight champion, Jose Aldo, who was seated cageside. Now that the path is clear for McGregor to get his title shot against Aldo, he wanted to send a message that he was ready.
Asked in the post-fight press conference what prompted him to jump the fence and provoke Aldo, McGregor -- who was enjoying a glass of celebratory whiskey on the dais -- said it was a couple of factors.
"I don't know, I just seen his skinny Brazilian head, and I knew they flew him over there, and he's sitting there front row," he said. "They thought I was going to see my girlfriend. They must have thought I was a romantic. But I was going to kill that little Brazilian"
According to UFC president Dana White, the 145-pound title fight -- which will be the biggest in featherweight history -- is tentatively slated to take place in May in Las Vegas, Nevada. On Sunday, McGregor stopped short of laying hands on Aldo, who was smiling as the episode played out. And though it was an intense moment, McGregor was quick to point out that he wasn't about to get into a fight with Aldo right then and there.
"I like money," he said. "And when fights happen outside the Octagon they take that money. So I want to keep my money."
The UFC had wanted Aldo to enter the cage after McGregor put away Siver via second-round TKO, to square off in prelude to the upcoming title fight, but the Brazilian champion elected not to. White said that Aldo was "superstitious" about coming in the cage like that, to which McGregor jumped in to break down that very word as a euphemism for something more telling.
"Tell you what, superstitions and rituals -- I need to wear these lucky jocks, I need to wear these lucky pants or I can't fight -- that's what rituals are, or superstitions are. I need certain things to happen for a contest to happen," he said. "Superstitions and rituals, for me, and it always has been, it's another word for fear. So he should have come into the f*cking Octagon, what more does he want? Come in and say what he has to say. He keeps saying all these things, but face to face he don't say nothing."
Asked what he saw in Aldo as he confronted him, McGregor said he beheld a diminutive person.
"I don't know, I just see a skinny little Brazilian," he said. "They all seem small to me. It's hard work making this weight, but I make it correct. I make it professionally. And when I'm in there against these people they're small. There is no pop. They seem timid. And so looking at [Aldo], he looked like a little skinny Brazilian from the favelas, that was it. Same as Diego [Brandao] looked, with a 12-year old boy body.
"So, I feel when we collide he will collapse."
For the first time in his UFC career -- which now spans five fights, three of which have occurred since his July return from an ACL tear -- the 27-year old McGregor made 145 pounds on the dot during Saturday's weigh-ins. He usually comes in at the featherweight maximum of 146 pounds. Asked if that was a point of pride to come in right on weight, he said it was more about signaling his time.
"I knew that the championship was on the line here," he said. "I knew I was the No. 1 contender. I did not want to make 146 because 146 you're a pound over. I'd never made 145 in the UFC. So I wanted to put that little stamp on it. That's 145, that's championship weight. Tell Jose, I'm coming."