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Conor McGregor vows to retire Eddie Alvarez: ‘His wife and kids will never recognize him again'

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

With UFC 205 less the two weeks ago, the war of words has begun in earnest between Conor McGregor and Eddie Alvarez.

Things repeatedly got heated between the two UFC champions during a join conference call on Thursday, with both men vowing to make easy work of one another on Nov. 12. And when asked about their first staredown before their historic fight, McGregor made no secret about what he believes he saw in Alvarez's eyes.

"He's thinking it's a game," McGregor said. "It's like you look into these people's eyes and they don't see it as a reality just yet. They're trying to look away and make it something else. ‘This isn't happening.' And then we're in the Octagon, and then we're about to fight, and I see what I see in their eyes.

"I see them break, bit by bit. And then we're in the Octagon and I break them myself. So that's it. I'm looking forward to going in. He's claiming it's an easier contest. I look forward to seeing the eyes, when the eyes roll, and the electric shock darts through his whole body and goes to his knees. And then he comes up in survival mode, and that panic sets through his whole body, his whole face. That's something I'm looking forward to, and I will go out there and I will punish him for that, for those words that he's saying. I'm going to retire him on this night."

The clash between McGregor and Alvarez is the first champion versus champion superfight in the UFC since Georges St-Pierre and B.J. Penn memorably locked horns in 2009.

With the opportunity, McGregor has a chance to become the only UFC fighter in history to concurrently hold two championship belts. And over the course of the lead-up, McGregor has taken exception to an oft-repeated line from Alvarez about the Irishman being the easiest fight in the UFC lightweight division.

"I'm going to hurt you badly. I'm going to rip you up badly, I swear to God. Trust me, you're going regret that," McGregor said.

"I feel [people are] going to see something they haven't seen before. I'm going to toy with this man. I'm going to really, truly rearrange his facial structure. His wife and kids will never recognize him again. His friends and the people that he knows will know that he's not the same man after this contest. So he's going to be in a shock when he sees that. That's it."

That promise is easier said than done against Alvarez. A grizzled veteran of the fight game, the 32-year-old UFC lightweight champion has only been stopped once by strikes over the course of his 14-year career, and it happened all the way back in 2007. Since then, Alvarez has engaged in a slew of back-and-forth wars of attrition, becoming known for his toughness and willingness to never quit.

Nonetheless, McGregor believes the damage Alvarez has sustained over that time will ultimately work against the American, and he looks forward to testing the limits of Alvarez's iron chin.

"I like his durability," McGregor said. "I know he gets badly hurt in fights. I know he's been dropped many times, but he keeps going, so I look forward to that. I feel that will happen in the contest. He'll get dropped, he'll be half-out, he'll be in survival mode. And then? Then I'm just going to butcher him and punish him and not let him out of there.

"I don't believe he's been hit by anybody like me. I don't believe he will survive. If he does survive and be in that survival mode, I'm going to toy with him. I'm going to rearrange his face for his words that he's speaking right now. But, I still can't see him lasting one round."

McGregor also addressed past comments Alvarez has made about "The Notorious" being a two-round fighter who fades in the later rounds, with McGregor vowing that the time to capitalize on any cardio issues has long past due to his growth in the aftermath of his loss to Nate Diaz at UFC 196.

"I'm swinging in the fifth round. I'm pushing now in the fifth round," McGregor said. "I've gone to that next level on this. I've been very focused on my cardiovascular endurance and my weight management and my nutrition. Now my body mass has come down, I'm leaner at 155, and my VO2 max has gone through the roof. My resting heart rate is extremely low, so I'm ready. I hope he is, because he's talking like he can outlast me over 25 minutes. But it's a long 25 minutes in there against a guy who can strike you from any angle, from any position. I've ended fights from everywhere. Everywhere, I've finished fights. So good luck to him."