LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Conor McGregor sipped whiskey and boasted he would need just one round to defeat Khabib Nurmagomedov and reclaim the UFC lightweight title during a typically wild news conference to promote his return to the octagon.
McGregor repeatedly referenced the infamous April incident when he threw a metal dolly through the window of a bus carrying Nurmagomedov and other UFC fighters, leading to his arrest and eventual guilty plea.
The 30-year-old Irishman told reporters last week in New York that he was glad that he had been unable to coax the Russian off the bus that day. “I just thank the lord Jesus Christ that man did not … step foot off that bus,” McGregor said.
“Because if that bus door would have opened, this man would be dead right now,” he added.“He would be in a box and I would be in a cell.”
The dolly incident came after McGregor was stripped of his UFC lightweight title because he declined to defend it and chose instead to fight a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather, which he lost.
McGregor, who owns a 21-3 record in UFC and is a former champion at featherweight and lightweight, predicted a short fight.
“I believe one,” McGregor said when asked how many rounds it would take to dispatch Nurmagomedov, who he called a “rat”. “He’s got a glass jaw,” he said.
The undefeated Russian was the calmer of the two during the press conference, never raising his voice or getting out of his chair as McGregor tore into him and his family.
“This is my third fight in the last nine months. I’m 26-0, I’ve never lost a round,” said Nurmagomedov, who is also 30.
“I don’t know what this guy is talking about. I don’t understand what he’s going to do,” said Nurmagomedov.
“He thinks whiskey is going to help him?” asked the devout Muslim, who declined McGregor’s offer of a glass of the spirit. “I don’t understand.”