If Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White didn't know much about Irish Featherweight sensation Conor McGregor prior to UFC on Fuel TV 9 fight week, then he certainly knows more than his fair share today.
"Notorius" made his auspicious Octagon debut last night (April 6, 2013) at Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, torching Marcus Brimage with precision power striking en route to a sensational first round technical knockout finish.
And an extra $60,000 in bonus money.
"His first fight in the UFC, he came out calm and smooth, cool and collected," White gushed. "I love this kid. The hype is real."
White, who later admitted he was "blown away" -- most likely because he never saw video of this performance -- continued to slather the Irishman with superlatives at the UFC on FUEL TV 9 post-fight press conference (watch it here).
"Beast," "impressed," "well-dressed," "handsome" and "smart" were among the many compliments White used to described the former Cage Warriors Fighting Championship (CWFC) 145-pound champion. McGregor, meanwhile, is apparently not the modest type who prefers to speak softly and carry a big Irish whooping shillelagh.
"Without a doubt, I'm the champ," he said backstage after blasting Brimage. "I feel like I'm strong in my mind, but I'm still growing and learning. Each [fight] gets easier. People talk about the UFC jitters and all that, but it felt no different…. I feel like I can handle the [nerves]…."
Those nerves of steel will apparently be put back to the ultimate test when McGregor returns to eight-walled mixed martial arts (MMA) action at UFC on FOX Sports 1, which is scheduled to take place at TD Garden in Boston, Mass., on Aug. 17, 2013.
White affirmed that McGregor would be included on the high-profile card; however, he stopped short of naming any potential opponents. It would appear that, at least for McGregor, the name and ability of his next opponent is seemingly insignificant.
"It's a proud moment for me and I proud moment for my countrymen," he continued. "This is the stuff dreams are made of … it's only the beginning for me -- I'm not stopping, I'm going to take over. All week I felt like the star of [UFC on Fuel TV 9] and I felt like I stole the show. I'm going to steal all the money from the UFC and hightail it back to Ireland with a big bag of money. Fuck the recession!"
Well said for a talented, charismatic and exciting prospect who, by his own admission, was collecting social welfare checks up until his big MMA break.