McGregor sipped his own brand of whiskey at the Sept. 20 presser, held at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, and boasted he would make quick work of Nurmagomedov to reclaim the UFC lightweight title.
“I believe one,” McGregor said when asked how many rounds it would take to dispatch Nurmagomedov, whom he called a “rat.”
“He’s got a glass jaw,” McGregor said.
McGregor also dismissed the undefeated Nurmagomedov’s wrestling skills.
“You’re going to be wrestling my knuckle out of your orbital bone,” said McGregor, a legendary striker.
‘He Would Be In a Box’
The 30-year-old Irishman also repeatedly referenced the infamous April incident when he threw a metal dolly through the window of a bus carrying Nurmagomedov and other UFC fighters, leading to his arrest and eventual guilty plea for disorderly conduct.
McGregor was charged with multiple counts of assault and criminal mischief, but entered the plea as part of a deal worked out with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, The Telegraph reported, which saw him serve no time in jail and be left with no criminal record.
“I just want to say I’m thankful to the DA and the judge for allowing me to move forward,” McGregor said in a brief statement outside the courthouse in July. “I want to say to my friends, my family, my fans—thank you for your support.”
McGregor struck a far less measured tone at the press conference on Sept. 20.
“I just thank the Lord Jesus Christ that man did not … step foot off that bus,” McGregor said, pointing to Nurmagomedov.
“Because if that bus door would have opened, this man would be dead right now,” he added.
“He would be in a box and I would be in a cell.”
‘He Thinks Whiskey Is Going to Help Him?’
McGregor owns a 21-3 record in UFC and is a former champion at featherweight and lightweight, and is the +125 underdog, according to Oddshark.
Nurmagomedov is undefeated in 26 bouts, and is the -155 favorite.
The Russian was the calmer of the two during the press conference, never raising his voice or getting out of his chair as McGregor tore into him and his family between plugs for his whiskey.
McGregor’s new branded booze will be sponsoring the fight.
“It’s on the canvas. Like his blood will be on the canvas,” McGregor said.
“This is my third fight in the last nine months. I’m 26-0, I’ve never lost a round,” said Nurmagomedov, who is also 30.
“I don’t know what this guy is talking about. I don’t understand what he’s going to do,” said Nurmagomedov, who defeated Al Iaquinta by unanimous decision in April to claim the title.
“He thinks whiskey is going to help him?” asked the known non-drinker, who declined McGregor’s offer of a glass of the spirit. “I don’t understand.”
‘You Terrorist Snitch!’
McGregor also attacked Nurmagomedov’s manager Ali Abdelaziz.
During the staredown at the end of the presser, it appeared that Abdelaziz said something that McGregor found objectionable.
“Shut your mouth, Ali Abdelaziz,” McGregor said.
“You terrorist snitch! I know a lot about you as well, you madman. I know a lot about you as well!” McGregor shouted.
“You keep your mouth shut kid! How’s Noah? How’s Noah? Yeah, shut your mouth! Never speak about me, ever in your life! Watch yourself around me, ‘cuz you’ll be out of here quick.”
After the conference, MMA journalist Mike Russel tweeted his take on McGregor’s cryptic reference: “FYI, Noah is the son Ali abandoned in Colorado when he started as an informant for the NYPD and who he is $50k behind in child support for. @TheNotoriousMMA [McGregor] does his homework when preparing for war.”
FYI, Noah is the son Ali abandoned in Colorado when he started as an informant for the NYPD and who he is $50k behind in child support for. @TheNotoriousMMA does his homework when preparing for war.
— Mike Russell (@MIKERUSSELLMMA) September 20, 2018
“A source close to the family says Ali Abdelaziz recently tried to clear up his more than $50k in 11 yrs of outstanding back child support by offering to pay his son he ditched in 2006 $10k,” Russell said. “The lowball offer came with a caveat that his mother who raised him not get a dime of it.”
A source close to the family says Ali Abdelaziz recently tried to clear up his more than $50k in 11 yrs of outstanding back child support by offering to pay his son he ditched in 2006 $10k. The lowball offer came with a caveat that his mother who raised him not get a dime of it.
— Mike Russell (@MIKERUSSELLMMA) July 15, 2018
A Bout to Bank On
McGregor was guaranteed $30 million last year in his ballyhooed boxing match against Mayweather, and UFC head Dana White openly wondered if his star attraction would ever return to the cage.
But at the conference White predicted at least 2.5 million pay-per-view buys for the most anticipated main event of the year.
“We were just looking at the streams and this press conference beat the highest rated MayMac [Conor McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather] the press tour…
“It’s going to be the biggest pay-per-view we’ve ever done. We’re trending at 2.5 million pay-per-views. It’s one of the biggest ever. Not just the UFC, but ever,” said White.
The fight will take place in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Oct. 6.