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Jose Aldo vows Conor McGregor is 'in deep s**t' at UFC 189

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Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

If the opening snapshot of Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor's UFC 189 press tour was any indication, the next 10 days are going to make for some mighty fine entertainment. The morning after commandeering a pub in downtown Rio de Janeiro, McGregor strolled out to Friday's press conference bathed in a sea of hatred from the frenzied Brazilian faithful, while Aldo, garbed in a suit and shades combo straight out of Scarface, promptly flipped him the bird.

"I own this town," McGregor declared, leaning back and plopping his shoes onto the dais. "I own Rio de Janeiro. I'm sitting up here with my feet on the desk. What's anyone up there going to do about it? Not one of yous are going to do anything about it. My name, the McGregor name, my family's motto ... means royal is in my blood. That goes way back. So for [Aldo] to say he is the king and I am the joker, if this was a different time, I would invade his favela on horseback and kill anyone that was not fit to work. But we are in a new time. So I'll whoop his ass in July."

McGregor's self-coronation was a continuance of the claim he made the night before, when the loquacious Irishman vowed to make Aldo "quiver and make woman noises" before the two ever meet on July 11 in Las Vegas.

As the only featherweight champion the UFC has ever known, Aldo is undefeated since 2005 and has defended his UFC/WEC title nine straight times, but never has a fight of his reached a fever pitch quite like this. That much was clear as he received a hero's welcome from his countrymen on Friday.

"The owner of Rio? Wow. [McGregor] doesn't even own Dublin," Aldo said through a translator. "He's said a lot and done nothing. I've had many fights here, always been here, and everyone knows who's the king of Rio. So I don't even give a damn what he says.

"He's not as good as he thinks he is. He just got here because of what he talks. That's what made him get here. He's never fought against a good fighter. He's never fought any good fighter in this division who could give him any risks, but at least let's say, he's bringing us a lot of things here. But you can all be rest assured, he's just another one."

Aldo isn't the first fighter to doubt McGregor's résumé. The charge of riding favorable match-ups to the top has remained one of the loudest criticisms levied against the Irishman, and it's true that although he's a perfect 5-0 inside the UFC, McGregor climbed the featherweight rankings while dodging the minefield of talented American wrestlers who litter the top-10. That trend obviously can't continue forever, but McGregor is far from bothered by his divisionmates' jabs.

"They all suck, in my opinion," McGregor said. "(Chad) Mendes is five-foot-five. His reach, I put my hand and hold my hand on his forehead and he wouldn't be able to hit me. He got in and he lit Aldo up, so I don't care about their criticisms. Now I'm fighting Jose. Now I'm going to take the belt and I'm going to wipe out the division."

When pressed about the merit of his title shot and the notion that he's reached this point purely because of his skills on the mic, McGregor pointed to the fact that already, in just five UFC fights, he's credited with twice as many finishes inside the Octagon as Aldo.

"As far as I am concerned, he is a coaster," McGregor said. "He coasts. He has not finished anybody. He has one finish in UFC history. One legit finish. That's it. I have four. Facts are facts. When I hit, they fall. When he hits, they survive. That's it. He has 25 minutes to hide that battle-worn chin from me. It won't happen. In 25 minutes, I will hit him and he will fall.

"You can say a long story or a short story," McGregor added. "The long story, I'm a southpaw. I judge range very, very well. [Aldo's] kick will be inefficient. I have one contest before where I've checked that inside lead kick and broken my opponent's leg. I have one fight in this manner before. But the short story: I'm going to bang a left hand straight down the pipe and break his nose."

Following the press conference (and a rowdy fan Q&A session which quickly devolved into a game of ‘let's heckle the Irishman'), McGregor and Aldo engaged in the first of what will be many staredowns over the next week. The scene mirrored what we've come to expect from the two featherweights -- Aldo, unblinking with his cold-blooded stare, juxtaposed tightly by McGregor, chirping and gesturing and always playing to the crowd.

The stone face versus the theatrical, just as we saw in January, when McGregor hopped the fence after his win over Dennis Siver and confronted Aldo cageside, shrieking into the Brazilian's amused but otherwise apathetic gaze. The clip of that day has already gotten steady rotation into UFC 189's promo reel, but when asked, Aldo shrugged off the dust-up as nothing more than McGregor showing his true colors.

"He did what he always did," Aldo said. "He's just a fool. He's a fool. If he really came up to me, he would've jumped and did it. He would've come. He just stood in front of the security guard to not even get close to me. He just does that kind of thing to make fun. But with me, he's in deep s**t. He's in deep s**t.

"I was created in the streets. I'm a street fighter. I'm just going to run him over, like anyone here in Brazil knows, like we are brought up here. I'm not discriminating anyone, for those who have and don't have, but I'm Brazilian. I'm just going to run him over. I don't care. There's no friendship after that. Friendship is for him and his friends. This is totally different. Not with me."