When Conor McGregor talks you and anyone in the general vicinity around listens.
"Notorious" had just sat down at the podium, following a thrilling interim Featherweight title fight at UFC 189 last night (Sat. July 11, 2015) in Las Vegas, Nevada, which resulted in second-round technical knockout of Chad Mendes (highlights here), before he revealed to the mixed martial arts (MMA) world that he competed at much less than 100 percent.
"I'm just going to leave that in the past," McGregor told media assembled at the UFC 189 post-fight presser (replay here). "I don't even see a point in bringing that up. Just know that I had a hell of a lot more wrong with me than a bruised rib, and I still showed up."
The 26-year-old Irishman, who hoisted UFC gold after taking out "Money" on the fight with a heavy left of a haymaker (he guaranteed he would in under two rounds), traveled all around the world and then some, first promoting a planned fight with Brazilian champion and pound-for-pound great Jose Aldo. Both Aldo and McGregor spent time inciting one another -- though it was usually the boisterous McGregor antagonizing the Brazilian -- on a World Tour event in March and in several interviews following it.
When "Junior" bowed out of their scheduled UFC 189 headliner with a rib injury, that resulted in Mendes stepping up on short notice to save the fight, the former was leveled with criticism not only from McGregor, but his employer. While McGregor and Mendes ultimately hugged it out following their tilt, it is highly questionable that McGregor would do the same with Aldo.
"When Jose pulled out and didn't mention nothing about the fans, and starts supporting Chad like weird little buddies, that left a bad, bad taste in my mouth," he said. "I couldn't do that. I showed up. I respect the people who sacrificed their money and their time.
I don't think he deserves to be spoken about here. He didn't show up. This was the event that we built, and he should have made that walk. I thank Chad for making that walk for showing up, but in my opinion Jose is done. If it comes around, we'll discuss it then, but right now this is my night. This is Ireland's night. SBG, my family, this is our night."
McGregor was not the only member of the SBG Ireland team to win on the evening. Though Cathal Pendred lost a split-decision to John Howard on the "Prelims" portion of UFC 189, fellow teammate Gunnar Nelson picked up a stunning first-round submission win over Brandon Thatch on the main card, bring the team's record on the night to 1-1, before the main event.
There was plenty of attention sent Aldo's way after UFC President Dana White suggested that the revered striker's rib might not actually be broken, as initially stated by Aldo and (appeared) to be shown in an accompanying x-ray provided by the Brazilian.
The Dublinator will eventually see Aldo standing across from him in the Octagon, but for those wishing to see a 145-pound title unification bout occur in Ireland, White has bad news.
"There's a thing where we told Conor, if he fought and beat Jose Aldo, we would let him defend at Croke Park in Ireland," White said. "When he and Jose Aldo fight, it will be here in Las Vegas. As of right now. I mean anything can change. But, as of right now, it will be in Las Vegas."
According to CEO Lorenzo Fertitta (via Brett Okamoto), a title bout between the pair could take place as early as Jan. 2, 2016, in "Sin City." If McGregor were to defeat Aldo, then it is likely the two could be facing off before ten's of thousands of rabid Irish fans in the former's backyard.
White and Fertitta have desperately tried to secure a show in Croke Park, but because of weather and curfew concerns, any plans for McGregor to return home have been scrapped as UFC has went with Las Vegas instead.
With Aldo expected to be back from his injury in the October, it remains to be seen whether UFC will book a unification bout between he and McGregor as soon as possible to avoid another potential injury and fiasco.
For now, McGregor receives well-deserved time off and will head back to Ireland at some point in the near future, a location he has only stayed in for a littler over a dozen days this calendar year. Of course, this until the UFC promotional train starts rolling again.
For more on the UFC 189 fallout, click here.