For public relations purposes, the UFC wanted Conor McGregor to play Jose Aldo in soccer during the UFC 189 press tour stop in Rio de Janeiro this weekend. The very idea seemed to disgust McGregor and he refused to do it.
"They tried to get us to play a game, to play football together," McGregor told reporters during a media scrum Thursday. "The f*ck? I'm not playing football with him. I'm not here to play friends. I'm not here to play games with this fool. I'm here to kill him."
Aldo defends his UFC featherweight title against McGregor in the main event of UFC 189 on July 11 in Las Vegas. The two will have the first of many staredowns Friday in Rio. McGregor said he's prepared for anything.
"I'm ready to fight tomorrow," he said. "If something kicks off, I'm ready to go. There's no commission out here, so if sh*t pops off I'm ready. I know that much. People think it's a joke and I'm playing the joker. We'll see who's the joke tomorrow."
A Brazilian reporter asked McGregor about Aldo's faceoff with Chad Mendes last year. Aldo shoved Mendes away, something the champion admitted later was in an effort to pump up the fight.
"He's a fake, trying to sell things," McGregor said. "I'm not trying to sell nothing. I'm trying to rob him. I'm gonna rob him of everything. This is not a sell. So, he pushes me, it's on. We'll go in there and see what happens. But I'm here ready to fight, make no mistake about it. I don't want to play games. I'm here for business and that's it."
McGregor's scrum took place inside an Irish pub in Rio. The Irishman played darts at the bar with Aldo's face acting as the target.
"They love me out here," McGregor said. "I own this town. I own Rio. Where is Jose? He's not even here. Rumor has it he fled the country. I love it here. It's good to be here.
"I'll definitely fight here. I love Brazil. And Brazil loves me. Make no mistake -- Brazil loves me."
McGregor (17-2) has won 13 straight fights, dating back to 2010. He has won all five bouts in the UFC, four of them by finish. Quickly, with his knockouts and his mouth, McGregor, 26, has become one of the biggest stars in MMA. He earned the shot against Aldo with a second-round TKO of Dennis Siver in January. Afterward, he jumped out of the Octagon, ran over to where Aldo was sitting and screamed in his face as security held him back.
Aldo (25-1) has not lost a fight since 2005 and has defended the UFC or WEC belt nine straight times. The record for most consecutive title defenses in UFC history is 10, set by Anderson Silva. Aldo, 28, is one of the very best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
McGregor, though, is unimpressed with Aldo's finishing ability compared to his own.
"Facts are facts," McGregor said. "Look at the facts. When I hit you, you fall. It's that simple. It doesn't matter where, it doesn't matter if you have your hand up and it goes through the guard. I hit and it breaks. And that's it."
McGregor also plans to break Aldo mentally, it seems. He can't wait to square off with the Brazilian on Friday.
"I look forward to looking him dead in the eye and I swear I can't wait to see his eyes turn to glass," McGregor said.
"He will quiver. He'll make woman noises. That's what he'll do."