clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

UFC 189 World Tour in Review: The most memorable moments, quotes and videos

New, comments
Photo composite by Cynthia Vance

The UFC 189 World Tour is over. Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor are free to return to training for their featherweight title fight on July 11 in Las Vegas. But we are going to recap the greatest promotional tour in UFC history below -- the highs, the lows, the staredown, the trash talk and everything in between -- step by step.

The tour took more than a week and spanned five countries and eight cities. It included Aldo and McGregor, but also Robbie Lawler, Rory MacDonald and UFC president Dana White for part of the way. The amount of media coverage the organization got in each city was incredible and the 10-part, documentary-like Embedded series was one of the best pieces of marketing the UFC has ever created.

Here's a deeper look at the UFC 189 World Tour starting from the beginning:

RIO DE JANEIRO

What a way to start things off. McGregor took over an Irish pub here and then proclaimed that he owned Jose Aldo's hometown. The first stop on the tour featured a press conference with fan questions -- and also the announcement of a future UFC main event. Ronda Rousey and Bethe Correia appeared to hype their UFC 190 fight for the women's bantamweight title Aug. 1 in Rio.

The Brazilian crowd was, as expected, incredibly intense. They wanted to rip McGregor's head off -- and he seemed to love every minute of it. It was clear from the crowd response, too, that Aldo has never been more popular in his home country as he is right now. Aldo, in his Scarface-style suit, winding up and flipping McGregor the bird was also a classic moment on the tour.

Best moment

McGregor got the tour started the way only he can, holding court for media in an Irish pub in Rio de Janeiro. There, he whipped the crowd into a frenzy and played darts -- with a picture of Aldo adorning the board. It was the perfect kickoff for a whirlwind couple of weeks.

Best quotes

"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."

-Conor McGregor

"I don't just want to defeat her. I want her to leave that arena embarrassed."

-Ronda Rousey on Bethe Correia

"I think everyone knows that if anyone is gonna beat Ronda, it's going to be me."

-Miesha Tate on Ronda Rousey

"Uhh vai morrer!"

-McGregor to Aldo, translated from Portuguese as "you're going to die"

Videos

Social

LAS VEGAS

In 14 weeks, the Aldo-McGregor title fight will take place in Las Vegas, so of course the Fight Capital of the World was part of the tour. Vegas, maybe for the first time ever, was a little subdued for champion and challenger. There were no angry mobs to deal with, just the media during a press conference. No fans were allowed in.

What Aldo and McGregor did get was some R&R in gorgeous suites at Red Rock. McGregor made himself at home -- mostly because Vegas has become his home away from Dublin. He announced on this tour stop that he'll be flying his team in and doing the final eight weeks of his training camp in Las Vegas. It's easy to see why with the hospitality he receives at the Fertitta-owned property.

Best moment

While McGregor was eating fancy meals and living the good life at Red Rock, Aldo was getting his game on with coach Alex Chadud. There was a ping-pong table and billiards table in their suite and all Aldo wanted to do was play. You got a great glimpse into the kind of competitor he is -- he always wants to win. And Aldo made a point in saying that he never loses when the camera is on him.

Best quotes

"I was never upset (with anything McGregor said). I just laughed at it. It's tough to get me pissed off. My mind is my strongest weapon. It's hard to get into my mind. I don't worry about it. Face-offs mean nothing. I'm in his head and he knows what's coming."

-Jose Aldo

"Whoever said it's tough at the top is talking absolute sh*t."

-Conor McGregor

Videos

Social

Que mlk sinistro!!! "I'm the greatest"

A photo posted by josealdojunioroficial (@josealdojunioroficial) on

The Celtic Tiger and The Russian Hammer on route to Cali!! #Con-Air

A photo posted by Conor McGregor Official (@thenotoriousmma) on

LOS ANGELES

The UFC spared no expense in LA, putting Aldo and McGregor up in the lush Intercontinental Hotel Century City at Beverly Hills. Once again, this stop was a tad subdued. No fans were allowed into media appearances; Aldo and McGregor just greeted press at a lunch inside the hotel.

However, things did get a little crazy when the two men went to the nearby FOX lot. McGregor took Aldo's belt and the two had a very heated exchange on FOX Sports Live with host Mike Hill in between them. Aldo had a hard time keeping up with a translator and McGregor said he was Aldo's daddy, to come sit on his lap. Brutal.

Best moment

McGregor and Aldo were both waiting for their appearance on FOX Sports 1, on opposite sides of a door with a glass window. McGregor took Aldo's belt from a staffer and put it over his shoulder. Of course, the Irishman walked over the door, knocked on the window and taunted Aldo. The champion was not deterred. He didn't seem to be very impressed by the display. That was a recurring theme of the tour.

Best quotes

"Tell him I said I am his daddy. ... Sit on my lap."

-Conor McGregor to Jose Aldo and his translator on FOX Sports Live

"It seems to me like maybe it's Brazilian culture. The women are on it. The men are on it. I don't know what to think. So I don't really have to think. It's in Vegas. We are in a new age. The sport is being cleaned. The athletes who are dedicated to martial arts and dedicated to health and fitness and purity, they are the athletes who are being rewarded now. I am happy to be part of the new age."

-McGregor on performance-enhancing drugs

"I will always complain. This is the right that I have. I always want more. I will always want to earn more. This is the right that I have, so I'm going to continue doing this."

-Aldo on his pay

"I'm on the fence. I'm leaning towards he's not coming back, these days. He's rich and he really doesn't have to do anything anymore if he doesn't want to. He's doing movies."

-Dana White on Georges St-Pierre, from the FOX Sports The Jay and Dan Podcast

Videos

Social

...and it's only stop number three of the #UFCWorldTour #UFC189 tickets on-sale this Friday

A video posted by ufc (@ufc) on

O mlk estar muito habilidoso !!! Uiiii negooo #estilodevida #mlksinistro #omlktabonito

A photo posted by josealdojunioroficial (@josealdojunioroficial) on

Mr. Bundles O'Cash and Mr. Abramovich on route to Boston City.

A photo posted by Conor McGregor Official (@thenotoriousmma) on

BOSTON

The private jets then took Aldo and McGregor to a place the challenger knows very well. He won his last fight in Boston by TKO against Dennis Siver in January. Boston is the home of one of the largest Irish American populations in the United States and of course they came out in full force to the Strand Theatre to support McGregor.

It was at this point in the tour that McGregor was clearly getting on Aldo's last nerve. And the staredown after the press conference was one of the best of the two weeks.

Best moment

It'll be hard to get the image of Aldo, eyes wide, head out, almost begging McGregor to take a swipe at him during their staredown in Boston. UFC president Dana White had to get in between the two men at that point. Then, McGregor feinted like he was going to throw a left hook and Aldo flinched a bit. That only seemed to make the champion angrier.

Best quotes

"It's no bueno if they end up throwing down at the press conference."

-White

"If someone takes a possession of yours and waves it in your face and tells you to come and get it, and you sit there and you do nothing that's the biggest sign of fear I've ever seen. If he took this can of Monster Energy from his table and said, 'come and get it,' I'd drill it through his head."

-McGregor

"When he is alone with no one around, he keeps thinking about me and it gives him diarrhea."

-Aldo

"I looked into his eyes and saw how scared he was. He was sh*tting in his pants."

-Aldo

Videos

Social

#UFCWorldTour hits Boston today! @jeffbottari

A photo posted by ufc (@ufc) on

NEW YORK

The Big Apple was quite the host for the UFC 189 World Tour. Perhaps fired up over the potential of MMA being legalized in the state, the fans were loud and rowdy -- and very pro-McGregor. So much so that both Rory MacDonald and Robbie Lawler, who joined the tour at this point, thought they were very disrespectful toward Aldo. Well, that's New Yorkers for you.

Best moment

Being in New York doesn't just mean a press conference with wild fans. It also means mainstream media and other obligations. McGregor did a photo shoot in a bank vault just teeming with money here and he looked like he fit right in. Ask "The Notorious" and he'll probably say this is one of the coolest things he did on the tour. The visual of McGregor sitting on a pile of money -- a takeoff on an old Muhammad Ali photo -- and tossing some of it in the air is the perfect symbol of what he has done for the UFC's featherweight division.

Best quotes

"He says that he stole my belt while hiding behind a wall. I told him: 'Bro, you didn't even get close to me.' You were only talking to me because you were hiding behind the glass.'"

-Aldo

"It's like in the jungle. One king gets old. He starts getting sloppy. He starts stagnating. Then a young gorilla comes up and kills him and takes everything he owns. That is what is happening here."

-McGregor

"We're gonna take over Dublin. We're gonna own it."

-Aldo

"I've done a lot of things in my life and my career in the fight business. Being on this tour is one of the unique experiences of my life."

-White

Videos

Social

This week's profit.

A photo posted by Conor McGregor Official (@thenotoriousmma) on

We LOVE you New York! #UFCWorldTour #UFC189

A video posted by ufc (@ufc) on

TORONTO

Hopefully, no one was actually trying to shop at Eaton Centre last week. The mall was filled on three floors with UFC fans, which was one of the coolest visuals of the entire tour. With Aldo, McGregor, MacDonald and Lawler holding a press conference on the main floor, hundreds of fans lined up above them overlooking the stage.

Toronto was also the site of the most heated exchange so far between Aldo and McGregor as emotions reached a fever pitch.

Best moment

White, Aldo, McGregor, Lawler and MacDonald were all on Canada AM, a huge program that can be compared to Good Morning America. It was great exposure for the UFC, but it almost turned out very badly. A producer mistakenly sat McGregor behind Aldo on a couch. McGregor grabbed the back of Aldo's neck and, obviously, the champ didn't like it. White had to get between them again. Luckily, Aldo calmed down and McGregor stopped the shenanigans and the segment went off without a hitch.

Best quotes

"He's trying to put Conor McGregor in a seat behind [Aldo] and Conor McGregor reached over and slapped Aldo's back. And now Aldo is crazy and doesn't want to do most of the stuff we have to do today. It's been fun."

- White on morning show incident

"Arriving late is a cultural thing in Brazil. It's in the Brazilian clock. Otherwise things go wrong. The only thing we've never late for are the fights. For my fights I'm always on time."

-Aldo

"I'm gonna punch this son of a b*tch in the face. This cocky son of a b*tch grabbed my neck."

-Aldo

"He is a decision machine. He has 25 minutes to run, 25 minutes to hide that battle-worn chin. And nobody can hide that chin from me."

-McGregor

"I want to smell his p*ssy. I can smell your p*ssy from here."

-McGregor to Aldo

Videos

Social

See you at The Eaton Centre Canada today. #UFCWorldTour

A photo posted by Conor McGregor Official (@thenotoriousmma) on

and the new king of the throne!

A photo posted by Rory Macdonald (@romac_gorilla) on

LONDON

No fans were allowed inside the press conference in London, so the atmosphere was far more relaxed. In fact, London probably wins for being the most civilized stop on the tour. White even complimented the media (no, that's not a typo) there for being knowledgeable about MMA. It was kind of like the calm before the storm that was Dublin.

Best moment

Aldo seemed to be feeling more at home in London. He got a chance to go out on the pitch for the Brazil vs. Chile soccer match and hang out with some of the players he knew. It was probably exactly what he needed before going into the mouth of the beast, Dublin. Aldo was relaxed and didn't have to deal with any crazy fans spouting off for McGregor.

Best quotes

"I heard I slapped him in the back of the head. I didn't slap him in the back of the head. I put my hand on his neck and I bent him over."

-McGregor on Aldo, regarding Toronto morning show incident

"I was sitting and he grabbed my hoodie from behind. It wasn't a slap, it wasn't anything. I think he just wanted to touch me. I don't know if he likes me or what."

-Aldo on Toronto morning show incident

"There's another man who has spoke my name in vain. And what happens is, when you speak my name in vain, no matter how many years down the line, I'm like an elephant -- I'll never forget. I'll come and get you."

-McGregor on Rafael dos Anjos

"With the talent I have for sports, I would definitely be playing somewhere. If I wasn't a fighter, I would be a volleyball player. I rule in soccer, so if I was a fighter I'd be doing any other sport. A tennis player, a golfer, a surfer, a juggler, anything."

-Aldo

Videos

Social

A caminho do estádio Emirates Stadium!!! Brasil x Chile Vamos deitar neles !!! Brasiiiiillllll

A photo posted by josealdojunioroficial (@josealdojunioroficial) on

Foi uma satisfação muito grande finalmente conhecê-lo, fiquei muito feliz!!! Sucesso sempre é muita saúde!!!

A video posted by josealdojunioroficial (@josealdojunioroficial) on

3am in London watching @rondarousey kill it with @therock at Wrestlemania.

A photo posted by Dana White (@danawhiteufc) on

#LondonEye #UFCWorldTour #UFC189 @jeffbottari

A photo posted by ufc (@ufc) on

DUBLIN

Ireland was exactly what you thought it would be. A complete madhouse. Around 4,000 fans packed into the Convention Centre in Dublin -- and 60,000-plus were not able to even get tickets. The scene was wild. The fans were raucous for McGregor. Aldo took a serious verbal beating -- and even gave some of it back himself.

As crazy was Rio was for Aldo, Dublin was likely even crazier for McGregor. It's almost a shame the fight has to be in Las Vegas, but of course there are financial concerns. If Aldo-McGregor took place in Ireland and Brazil, it would have been a gigantic event. Hey, maybe the rematch.

Best moment

This is an easy one. Of course, it was McGregor reaching over the other side of the dais and snatching Aldo's belt from in front of him. McGregor then hoisted the belt into the air as if he owned it with Aldo giving chase. White was able to get in between them -- again. McGregor's wild-eyed faced only added to the spectacle.

Best quotes

"I'm the king of Dublin."

-Jose Aldo

"It's cool to see you all happy right now, but when I win the fight you're all going to bow down to me."

-Jose Aldo

"It will be done and one done."

-Conor McGregor on the Aldo fight

"I didn't feel anything. That's the best he can do because next time he's in front of me, I will beat the sh*t out of his face."

-Aldo on belt snatch

Videos

Social

July 11th. #TheMcGregorEra

A photo posted by Conor McGregor Official (@thenotoriousmma) on

Dublin is ready! #UFCWorldTour live stream at the top of the hour! Link in bio!!

A video posted by ufc (@ufc) on