Featherweight champion Conor McGregor and lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos have had their first face off just over six weeks away from their March 5 title bout in dos Anjos home country of Brazil. During the press conference for UFC 197, both men talked trash about each other and “Mystic Mac” made one of his famous predictions yet again, but his opponent gave as good as he got during the tense press conference.
Both fighters had strong words for each other at the UFC press conference Tuesday evening. “He’s a slower, sloppier, more stuffed version of Jose Aldo,” Conor McGregor said according to the Irish Independent before going on to make a prediction. “It will be another KO. I would love to beat the ugly out of him and drag him into the second or third rounds. I feel like I’m gonna dust him in under one minute.” The talkative Irishman also promised that he would carry the Brazilians “severed head” through the streets of his native country and be celebrated by Brazilians everywhere for dethroning the man who “brings the name of Brazil down.”
While such trash talk was not unexpected from a man who calls himself “Mystic Mac,” his praise for previous opponent Jose Aldo was uncharacteristically uplifting. “I am comparing you to a true Brazilian champion who I have already KO-ed. Just seeing the pride the Brazilians carried for Jose and the pride Jose carried for the Brazilian people… it touched my heart,” Conor McGregor told his new opponent. It’s no wonder that dos Anjos said that the hardest part about the fight would be not punching the Irishman before they got in the ring.
But Rafael dos Anjos gave as good as he got at the UFC presser, even making a few predictions of his own. The black belt Brazilian Jiu Jitsu artist promised to use his ground techniques to stop all of McGregor’s attacks. “I won’t let him move,” he promised the crowd. He also hit back at the claim that he is not a true Brazilian. MMA Fighting reports that he countered Conor McGregor’s nationalistic rhetoric. “This jackass said I’m a traitor to the Brazilian people, but he’s just trying to get some fans there. My walkout song says it all, ‘the shout of a warrior, Brazilian citizen’.”
When it finally came time for the two men to face off, it was classic Conor McGregor. The Irishman got in dos Anjos’ face, made a show for taking off his glasses to look him in the eye and had a few choice words for the Brazilian lightweight champion. Stoicism was Rafael dos Anjos’ response. When the two men turned to the room for the press to take pictures, McGregor stuck out his hand as if for a handshake while dos Anjos ignored him, holding his belt on his shoulder. The mind games have already begun and UFC fans can expect six weeks of entertainment ahead of the UFC 197 fight in March.
Opinion by Charlie Carlisle
Photo Courtesy YouTube