Irish sensation Conor McGregor lives up to hype despite knee injury

Aug 20, 2013, 2:29 PM | Updated: 2:30 pm
Follow @Vincemarotta...

BOSTON- With more attention from the media and fans placed upon him than anyone else on the UFC Fight Night 26 card, including the main event, the average UFC fighter would have surely faltered under the weight of an entire country on his back.

But Irish superstar Conor McGregor entered a sold-out TD Garden in Boston with the demeanor of a seasoned veteran. With dozens of Irish flags scattered about the arena and almost every person in attendance straining to get a glimpse of the Irish superstar, the man known as “Notorious” basked in the crowd’s ovation as he entered the arena with his homeland’s flag draped across his shoulder.

“The support out there was unbelievable,” said McGregor. “It was green walking out there. The place was green. Green flags, f*****g leprechauns jumping around. It was unbelievable.”

McGregor, who faced the young Hawaiian Max Holloway on the preliminary card of Saturday night’s event, looked about as comfortable as he could possibly be as he battered Holloway with a dizzying array of kicks. It was an easy round to score, as McGregor was by far the most aggressive fighter.

But as the second round started McGregor, known for his world-class cardio and striking abilities, seemed to step off the gas and utilize his takedowns and top game to grind his opponent into exhaustion. It was a strategy rarely seen from McGregor, and he elaborated on his change of pace to the media following the fight.

“I went to catch a kick early in the fight and when he bridged and rolled I heard my knee click and it just wasn’t stable after that,” said McGregor. “I could feel it moving in and out of position which is why I had to switch gears and start taking him down.”

McGregor would go on to grind a very dominant victory en route to going the distance for the first time his young professional career, a feat that leaves a sour taste in the Irishman’s mouth.

“I’m not happy with my performance though, this is mixed martial arts and that’s not the way I like to fight out there,” said McGregor. “I felt the finish coming before my knee went and they say he’s one of the better strikers in the division. I’m just trying to prove that no one can stand with me in the octagon.”

When pressed to elaborate on his disappointed demeanor even though he pulled off the victory and improved his UFC record to 2-0, McGregor said he feels he let the fans and the UFC brass down with what he sees as a boring display of fighting.

“I mean, what these guys have done for me, Dana giving me all this attention and putting this on me, these guys are making my dreams come true,” McGregor said. “I’m forever grateful to these guys. That’s why this is a loss to me.”

UFC President Dana White quickly jumped in and said it was that kind of attitude that proves all the hype surrounding McGregor was well deserved.

“Why am I promoting this kid? Why am I getting behind him? Because I love what he’s about. I love that attitude,” White said. “He’s pissed off he didn’t finish. Some guys will sit up here and go, ‘Eh, well, I won.’ No. He’s pissed at himself that he didn’t finish. Are you kidding me?”

McGregor’s next move will be a trip out west so he can get his knee checked out by UFC doctors to determine if surgery will be necessary. But if it were up to him, he’d already have his next fight lined up so he can erase his most recent performance from his mind.

“I come out to finish every time. Max is tough. I wanted to exchange with Max. I don’t know. I’m blown away, but realistically let’s get the next one in because I’m ready to whoop somebody real quick, yeah?”


Associated Press

Tyson Fury knocks out Deontay Wilder in 11th round thriller

Tyson Fury got up from two fourth-round knockdowns and stopped Deontay Wilder in the 11th round Saturday night, retaining his WBC title.
1 year ago
Conor McGregor sits while receiving attention for injury while fighting Dustin Poirier in a UFC 264...
Associated Press

Conor McGregor injures leg, Poirier wins UFC 264 showdown

Conor McGregor's leg and ankle buckled when he stepped back from a blow by Dustin Poirier that downed the former two-division UFC champion.
2 years ago
In this handout image provided by the UFC, Dustin Poirier reacts after his knockout victory over Co...
Associated Press

Dustin Poirier knocks out Conor McGregor in 2nd round at UFC 257

Dustin Poirier stopped Conor McGregor with a flurry of punches Sunday, avenging his loss to the Irish superstar with a knockout victory at UFC 257.
2 years ago
Associated Press

Usman, Volkanovski, Yan leave Fight Island with belts

Kamaru Usman retained his welterweight title with a smothering victory over short-notice challenger Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251 on Sunday.
3 years ago
In this handout image provided by UFC, Dustin Poirier celebrates after his victory over Dan Hooker ...
Associated Press

Dustin Poirier wins decision over Dan Hooker in UFC thriller

Dustin Poirier won a thrilling unanimous decision over Dan Hooker on Saturday night after surviving a brutal second round.
3 years ago
Curtis Blaydes battles Alexander Volkov of Russia in their heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Ni...
Associated Press

Curtis Blaydes stifles Volkov in UFC heavyweight bout

UFC heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes dominated Alexander Volkov with wrestling Saturday night, earning his fourth consecutive victory.
3 years ago
Irish sensation Conor McGregor lives up to hype despite knee injury