McGregor begins war of words against title rival dos Anjos

When Conor McGregor signs on for a new fight the anticipation for the buildup is almost as eagerly anticipated as the matchup itself.

Wednesday afternoon at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, McGregor and Rafael dos Anjos, the lightweight champion and the next man to face “The Notorious” on March 5 at UFC 197, came face to face and microphone to microphone for the first time.

As always when the Irishman takes part, the event was a must-see spectacle – when McGregor finally showed up.

“I apologize for my time keeping; I do not wear watches to tell the time. I operate on my own time,” McGregor said after he walked in a half hour late.

Dos Anjos didn’t seem to find McGregor’s act as entertaining as some of the fans in attendance. The Brazilian found it tough to get a word in edgewise.

McGregor has become synonymous for his press conference interruptions and he continued that tactic with dos Anjos.

At one point RDA was asked if he thought McGregor’s move to lightweight was a bad idea. And before dos Anjos could finish his answer, McGregor tried to talk over him once again.

RDA finally seemed to reach his limit.

“Are you done man? Are you done? OK,” dos Anjos said before aggressively finishing his answer. “I think it’s a bad idea.”

Tickets for UFC 197 on sale Friday, January 22

McGregor went right back at dos Anjos, offering his explanation for why a move up to lightweight actually makes a lot of sense in his mind.

“He’s 5-foot-8 with a 71-inch reach and I’m 5-foot-9 with a 74-inch reach. I’m the bigger man here,” McGregor said. “I’m going to bully this man in his own division.”

In a recent interview by TMZ, McGregor said that he would be able to beat Jesus himself in the Octagon. RDA is known to be very devout in his faith and was asked how he took that comment by his opponent.

“He has no respect for anybody,” dos Anjos said. “I’m just a single tool in Jesus’ hand and March 5th he will see and feel what a single tool in Jesus’ hand can do.”

McGregor responded by saying that he and Jesus are cool.

“I’m cool with all the gods. Gods recognize gods,” McGregor said.

As far as the fight goes, both McGregor and dos Anjos gave their prediction for how the bout will play out.

Both fighters think it’s going to be an early finish.

“I feel (Rafael) is very, very sloppy. His shot selection is very poor,” McGregor said. “He has a tenseness in his body, where he loads. We will enter and he will try to close that distance to get into the pocket, but he will take some strikes. It’s honestly like a slower, sloppier, more stuffed version of Jose Aldo.

“As he’s been KO’d before he will be KO’d again,” McGregor continued. “I’d love to beat the ugly out of him and drag him to the second or third round, but I feel like I’m gonna dust him in under one minute.”

More on UFC 197: Watch: 2016 Preview Show: Holly Holm | 2016 Preview Show: Conor McGregor | UFC Rankings Report: 2016 preview show | UFC 193 Lookback | McGregor's UFC 194 Backstage Interview | dos Anjos calls out McGregor | Holm & Tate filmed movie together | Gamechangers McGregor, Holm to risk it all | Holm on life after beating Ronda | Fighter Bios: Conor McGregor, Holly Holm, Rafael dos Anjos, Miesha Tate | Sanchez-Miller to be UFC FIGHT PASS featured bout

RDA said he’s planning a beat down for McGregor to make him sorry for all his trash talk.

“I’m going to have a chance to finish this fight in the first round but I’m going to punish him all the way until the third or fourth,” dos Anjos said. “I’m going to make him bleed and he’s going to pay for everything he is talking about everybody.”

Matt Parrino is a digital producer and writer for Follow him on Twitter at @MattParrinoUFC


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