Conor McGregor has always said that he doesn't have to prove anything to anyone. That is changing heading into this weekend.
Multiple times in the UFC 194 press conference Wednesday, McGregor made references to proving something. What is it exactly that he wants to prove against Jose Aldo on Saturday in Las Vegas? Simply, McGregor said, that he is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
"I enjoy listening to the reasons why I am here," McGregor said. "The excuses of previous. There are many, many times they look to discredit me, what I have achieved in my career, in this company. Right now, I feel I have the right opponent. The pound-for-pound number one. Undefeated 10 years. The only featherweight champion. What can they say now? What can they say after Jose falls? So I look forward to proving my point and what I've been saying over these years."
All of those facts mentioned about Aldo are true. Most have him either at the top of the pound-for-pound list or second to Jon Jones. McGregor believes that if he beats Aldo in Saturday's main event at MGM Grand that he will take over that top spot. He also believes that it will happen in spectacular -- and quick -- fashion.
"I feel within four minutes the shots will have landed," McGregor said. "It's on him after that. I feel anything after that four-minute mark of the first round will be a formality. It will be on him where he is mentally, where he is physically and how much he truly wants this. I see him crumbling towards the end of the first or not answering the bell for the second. But it will be wrapped up inside one."
Critics will say that McGregor has been given an easy road to get here. "The Notorious" beat Dustin Poirier in September 2014 and Dennis Siver back in January to get the title shot. Then, though, Aldo pulled out of UFC 189 in July with a rib injury. McGregor ended up beating Chad Mendes, Aldo's top nemesis, via second-round knockout.
Still, there are those who say that Mendes dominated the fight on the ground until the finish and that McGregor has not shown himself to be a truly elite fighter. He will absolutely get that chance Saturday. Aldo has not lost since 2005. He's just about dominated everyone put in front of him.
McGregor believes that Aldo is the perfect foe to cement himself as the fighter he has been telling everyone he is for years.
"I am happy to hear that," McGregor said of Aldo's substantial résumé. "He is currently the pound-for-pound number one fighter on the roster. So, I have been telling people that I am the current pound-for-pound number one fighter on the planet. The pound-for-pound number one is on the line in in this fight.
"I am a man with a point to prove and I will go out and I will prove it."