Conor McGregor was absolutely on fire at the opening press conference for UFC 197, and all poor Rafael dos Anjos could do was sit there and listen to the Irishman decimate him.
Every time that the Brazilian tried to answer a question, “The Notorious” one would cut him off. This occurred with such regularity in fact, that at one point Dos Anjos told the media to direct all questions for him to Conor. “He answers for me,” said the UFC lightweight champion.
Dos Anjos did his best to remain calm, but there were moments at which it seemed like Conor was once again saying all the right things to get under his opponent’s skin.
This was particularly evident when the division hopping featherweight champion reiterated his recent social media claims that Dos Anjos was a traitor to Brazil due to the fact that he emigrated to the United States.
“I’ll send him back home to California – his home,” started McGregor. “When I fought Jose Aldo I KO’ed the country of Brazil’s true champion. Seeing how he handles himself and how his team handles themmselves, they never learned the language of the oppressor, he never came to America. He trusted in his people, unlike this guy standing across from me, and that’s why the people of Brazil love Jose Aldo. That’s why when Jose Aldo steps off a plane the country of Brazil greets him regardless of result”.
“We are sending Rafael on a four day media run throughout Brazil in a couple of weeks and we have got to book him a hotel. We have to book him a hotel in his own home country. So that should tell you all you need to know. He will never step off a plane and recieve a hero’s welcome from the people of Brazil because he ran from the country of Brazil. This guy is, in Brazilian lingo, is a gringo”.
Later, McGregor would return to this line of commentary, promising to decapitate Dos Anjos on behalf of the Brazilian people.
“March 5th I will behead Rafael dos Anjos,” said Conor. “I will drag his head through the streets of Rio de Janeiro, through a parade of people. It will become a national holiday also, I would imagine”.
“I see a man who, although he is Brazilian, does not represent the Brazilian people like he should. He brings the name of Brazil down. So I will bring the name of Brazil back up again. Viva la Brasilia!”
This seemed to push Dos Anjos to the brink. He informed a giggling McGregor that the phrase he had used was Spanish and not Portuguese, before he issued a prediction that betrayed his emotion.
“I am going to have a chance to finish this fight in the 1st round, but I won’t. I am going to punish him all the way to the 3rd or the 4th. I’m going to make him bleed. He is going to pay for everything he is saying about everybody, for all the disrespect this guy has”.
Asked for his own prediction on the outcome of the fight, McGregor stated –“I feel he is very, very sloppy…..It’s honestly like a slower, sloppier, more stuffed version of Jose Aldo. I feel I will guide him onto some strikes and as he has been KO’ed before, I will KO him again”.
Then Conor, as he always does, gave a very specific forecast.
“I’d love to beat the ugly out of him and drag him into the 2nd or 3rd round, but I feel like I am going to dust him in under one minute”.
It was just the latest in a long line of virtuoso verbal performances from Conor McGregor, who summed the whole event up perfectly when he said, “I’m up here verbally destroying this man”.
You can watch the entire presser below.