Has McGregor-Mania reached its peak, or is the Irishman destined for even more success UFC?
Conor McGregor stunned the world when he knocked out former featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo in thirteen seconds to seize the official championship at UFC 194 last year. "The Notorious" shocked more fans when he announced his immediate move up to the lightweight division to challenge Rafael dos Anjos for the title at the upcoming UFC 196 PPV.
Dos Anjos, who dominated Anthony Pettis to take the 155-pound throne at UFC 185, has been on a tear since losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2014. The Brazilian has rattled off five spectacular wins since losing to the Russian and recently TKO'd Donald Cerrone to defend the title in December.
McGregor says he picked dos Anjos to beat "Cowboy" and called Cerrone a quitter in a recent interview with Andrew McGahon of Severe MMA.
"Ask Aldo can he fight this weekend," McGregor said (transcripts via Sean Sheehan). "He cannot fight. When you win by KO, by stoppage, by a true stoppage you put your opponent out of action for 10 months to a year."
"He (Cerrone) quit in there, inside that octagon. That's why he can go now next week and he can say I fight every week, and this and that, but you can fight every week if you go in and quit. If you're willing to die in there then you wouldn't be able to have them turnarounds."
"Dos Anjos won it, I chose him and was hunting for that second belt to replicate what I've done and that's it."
McGregor, who was lining up to collect welfare in Crumlin, Dublin just three years ago, is one of the sport's biggest stars and plans to make UFC history by becoming a simultaneous two-division champion on March 5th. His longtime coach John Kavanagh has also flirted with the idea of moving up to the welterweight division, and McGregor is more than confident about the move.
"I'm coming for that belt, I'm coming for the next belt, I'm coming for the whole company." McGregor said.
"Why not go up?"
"They get slower, and they get less free up there, they are stiffer, they are even more stuck than the lightweight division. So I'll keep going, keep eating, keep training and keep going until all the belts are wrapped up."
"I'm afraid of no one, I will go up and fight any weight." McGregor continued. "Anyone can come down and step in that cage with me or any cage and see how they fare, but nobody fares well that's for sure."
"How many times have you seen a champion instantly go up? How many years have you heard about superfights? How many times have you heard about a little sore toe, an opponent bounce?"
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Conor McGregor will headline UFC 196 -- co-headlined by Holly Holm vs. Miesha Tate -- at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 5th.