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Conor McGregor says Jon Jones isn't the top pound-for-pound fighter: 'I'm No. 1'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

LAS VEGAS -- Jon Jones will be back in the Octagon next month after a year away dealing with legal issues. In that time, Conor McGregor believes he has usurped Jones as the best fighter on the planet.

When asked Wednesday about Jones' standing as the best in the world, McGregor cut off a reporter.

"He's not," McGregor said at UFC 196 open workouts.

How does McGregor rank the best MMA fighters? Well, it's a pretty repetitive list.

"I'm number one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine," McGregor said. "Maybe Jon and Mighty Mouse (Demetrious Johnson) is 10. That's what I feel."

McGregor (19-2) will take on Nate Diaz in the main event of UFC 196 on Saturday here at MGM Grand. He just knocked out Jose Aldo, one of the top fighters in the world, in just 13 seconds at UFC 194 in December to win the featherweight title. So, "The Notorious" surely has a case for the top spot.

However, Jones (21-1) was a dominant champion before being stripped of the belt last year following a felony hit-and-run arrest. Jones has won 12 straight, defended the title eight times successfully and beaten the likes of Daniel Cormier, Alexander Gustafsson, Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans. In fact, Jones' only "loss" came via disqualification due to 12-to-6 elbows in a fight in which he was destroying Matt Hamill back in 2009. Jones will attempt to reclaim his title against Daniel Cormier at UFC 197 on April 23 here in Las Vegas.

McGregor, though, puts himself above fighters like Jones, because of his willingness to depart from his weight class and take on new challenges. McGregor is the UFC featherweight champion, but had designs on winning the lightweight title this weekend against Rafael dos Anjos before dos Anjos pulled out with an injury. No fighter has ever held UFC belts in two different weight classes at the same time and only two -- Randy Couture and B.J. Penn -- have won titles in two different divisions.

With dos Anjos out, McGregor will fight Diaz at welterweight Saturday. After that, he ha designs on challenging Robbie Lawler for the welterweight title. There's a huge jump from 145 pounds to 170.

"I'm seriously considering making my own damn belt," McGregor said. "I'll make my own belt and then I'll decide what weight the fight is at. Why not? Why not? Who cares bout the belts? It's the money fight, you know what I mean? This is the money fight that everyone wants. They should be chasing for it, trying to knock everyone out to get to it, not crying and complaining and saying I'm gonna wait until Uncle Dana [White] picks up the phone call."

McGregor, 27, wouldn't even completely rule out fighting at middleweight in the future -- a 40-pound difference from featherweight.

"My body could change as I get older," McGregor said. "I could become that solid block at 170. And if I'm that block at 170, I'm happy to go to 185. It would be like going from 145 to 155. I have no problem doing that. I'd go in and whoop anybody. No problem."

"The Notorious" believes other champions have also failed in their willingness to stay in fights and keep cards alive. Aldo and dos Anjos have now pulled out of main events against McGregor and McGregor has stayed on. McGregor has said that he even had a partially torn ACL when he fought Chad Mendes at UFC 189 last July.

"[Heavyweight champion] Fabricio [Werdum] pulled out and threw cards down the water," McGregor said. "Jon [Jones] pulled out and threw cards down the water. Nobody was willing to step up or down. I can't answer that. You play it safe, you don't take risks, you won't go all the way. I get in, I take risks and that's why I go all the way."

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