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Conor McGregor expects to put on ‘masterpiece’ at UFC 257

Conor McGregor fights have been few and far between in the past few years. But “The Notorious” is vowing to make his appearance on Saturday worth everyone’s time.

In the main event of UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi, McGregor meets Dustin Poirier in a rematch of their UFC 178 encounter at featherweight six years ago that McGregor won by first-round TKO. Both men have experienced great success, and now they face off again, this time as lightweights, fathers, and possibly as completely different fighters.

One aspect of McGregor’s game that he’d like to display is a deeper gas tank. Even during his 15-fight win streak, McGregor was more well known for his electrifying finishes than his ability to go the distance. He’s gone the full five rounds once in the UFC, winning a majority decision to avenge a loss to rival Nate Diaz, and though he expects to put Poirier away early, he also guarantees he’ll deliver in a prolonged battle – should it come to that.

“I think it’s a myth,” McGregor said at Thursday’s UFC 257 press conference in Abu Dhabi when asked about any potential cardio issues. “Obviously, I had the Diaz one, first Diaz fight. I went from featherweight, and then a month or so later, I was at welterweight. That’s obviously gonna have an impact, and then there were other issues. But I think overall, it’s a myth and it’s a myth that’s out there and that’s it. I hope we can answer it and I will answer it in time at some stage.

“I keep showing up here, someone’s gonna be able to stay in the pocket with me and stay in there and fight with me and I hope it’s this Saturday night. Do I think so? I think not. I’m in some shape at the minute, and I tell you this now, I am coming to put on a masterpiece, so I’m excited about it.”

McGregor’s win over Diaz and last January’s TKO of Donald Cerrone both happened at 170 pounds, making McGregor one of just two fighters to score knockouts in three weight classes in the modern UFC (Jared Cannonier is the other, Vitor Belfort also achieved this though his heavyweight victories occurred before the current divisions were established).

Given that three of his past five fights have been at welterweight, McGregor answered a question regarding whether he plans to stick around at lightweight for the near future.

“I’ve done good in them all,” McGregor said. “I’ve secured belts in multiple divisions, and I’ve secured knockout victories in multiple divisions. I do feel great at this weight, but whatever I commit to I feel great at. When I do the welterweight bouts, I feel great, I feel strong and big. I still feel this now. I feel fast also. So I’m excited to go in and showcase it. I have not had that much fights at 155 pounds in the UFC and I’m eager to put in a stint, to get a run going, like I’d done with the featherweights. I think I went seven or eight fights within the space of a year and a half. That’s what I’m looking for here.

“If they can match me up, now we’ve got multiple opponents up on the dais already, so we’re in a good spot, and I’m eager to get going and showcase. I feel this is the best I have ever been, for sure, and I’m at 155 pounds. But if I go back to 170 pounds you best believe that’ll be the best I’ll at also.”

McGregor has been the UFC’s most reliable draw and he indicated that to his knowledge all the numbers are trending in the right direction for Saturday’s pay-per-view. Under strict COVID-19 safety measures, there will be a limited number of fans in attendance at Etihad Arena for UFC 257, a prospect that McGregor repeatedly said he’s excited about.

The verbose Irishman was asked about his popular brand of showmanship, and he chalked it up to his single-minded nature.

“I’m just an insanely driven young man,” McGregor said. “I’m passionate about what I’m passionate about and I give it my all, that’s it. I’m a hard worker through and through. If something needs to be done, Conor McGregor gets it done, make no mistake about it.”

“I’m very excited to be back here,” he added. “I’m very excited to have fans back in the area. I’m very excited for the competition, the multiple competition. I just feel invigorated and as you said, about artistry and all, and ‘Vinny’ Van Gogh, I’m gonna paint a beautiful picture here inside this octagon on Saturday night. I’m very excited to do so.”

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