Conor McGregor believes he is closing in on a ‘$40million year’ and labelled his upcoming opponent Eddie Alvarez as ‘just another broke bum that can’t afford to pay his bills’.
The Irish fighter was in his usual garish mood at the UFC 205 conference at Madison Square Garden and said current lightweight champion Alvarez is ‘very lucky to be in the position he’s in’ ahead of their fight in New York on November 12.
‘I feel by the time 2016 closes out, I’ll be closing in on $40 million,’ McGregor said at the news conference.
‘This is a $40million year for me. A damn good year.
‘He’s (Alvarez) very lucky to be in the position he’s in, he understands that. That’s why he took this fight on the money he was on the last fight. That says it all.
‘He’s broke and he’s desperate and he’s trying to make it, ‘McGregor’s this, McGregor’s that.’ We’ve heard it all before. He’s just another broke bum that can’t afford to pay his bills. That’s all it is.’
McGregor is aiming to become the first fighter to hold two UFC belts simultaneously when the sport makes a splashy entrance into the last US state to legalise mixed martial arts.
The wildly popular brawler’s fight for Alvarez’s lightweight belt is one of three title fights on a card with several matches that could easily headline a different event.
The UFC wants its Madison Square Garden event on November 12 to top the promotion’s biggest cards, especially after UFC 200 in July was marred by doping violations and a line-up that reshuffled several times.
‘It’s an honour to be here,’ McGregor said. ‘I cannot wait to perform. … The Irish love New York and I’m honoured to be here.’
The stacked card also includes new welterweight champion Tyron Woodley’s first title defence against Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, along with straw weight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s defence against fellow Pole Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Popular veteran fighters Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, Miesha Tate, Frankie Edgar, Chris Weidman and Rashad Evans are also in the show.
For the card’s depth, McGregor is its main selling point. And he knows it.
UFC was purchased by the WME-IMG talent agency from Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta in July for £3billion, a fact that McGregor was quick to point out.
‘$4.2 billion,’ McGregor said. ‘$4.2 billion. That’s what I’m worth to this company.’
McGregor has become the UFC’s biggest active star in the past two years with a series of gritty fights and a loquacious promotional style. Although he won the UFC’s featherweight title in December with a 13-second knockout of Jose Aldo, his last two fights were lucrative welterweight bouts against Nate Diaz, with McGregor avenging his loss to Diaz in August.
He was originally scheduled to headline UFC 200 in Las Vegas against Diaz, but the bout was bumped when McGregor bickered with the UFC over money and promotional obligations.
Following UFC 202, the Nevada Athletic Commission announced McGregor was on a six month injury suspension. During the press conference, though, McGregor claimed he was completely healthy.
‘That fight was five weeks ago,’ McGregor said. ‘I came out of that fight fresher than (when) I went in. Look at Nate’s face. Nate will never look the same. I came out brand new. I had a bruised foot.’
McGregor gets to keep his 145-pound title when he takes on Alvarez, who won the 155-pound belt in July with a first-round stoppage of Rafael Dos Anjos. McGregor still hasn’t defended the featherweight belt.
White said UFC ‘would figure that out when it happens,’ when asked whether the promotion would allow McGregor to hold the 145-pound and 155-pound titles at the same time.
McGregor, naturally, had his views on the subject.
‘I’m going to wrap one on one shoulder and wrap the other one on the other shoulder,’ McGregor said. ‘It’ll take an army to come take those belts off me.’