UFC 189: Conor McGregor steals belt off Jose Aldo during final tour stop in Dublin
World Tour ends in Dublin
By James Dielhenn
Last Updated: 31/03/15 11:26pm
Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor ended their world tour in spectacular fashion in Dublin with the pair nearly coming to blows.
UFC President Dana White had to separate Aldo and McGregor as the challenger was on the offensive right from the go in the final press conference.
McGregor ripped the belt off Aldo’s desk in dramatic fashion after, moments before, the champion had said he was the "King of Dublin".
After he had grabbed the belt, McGregor was quick to shout back “You're looking at the king!". Aldo tried to charge at McGregor in response, but security managed to stop the trouble escalating any further.
McGregor's bold prediction that he would end the fight in the first round stole the show at Monday’s London leg of the UFC 189 World Tour that has taken McGregor and Aldo’s bitter dispute to five countries.
The tour has featured McGregor stealing the champion’s belt, allegedly slapping him and numerous heated face-offs, to ramp up the July 11 fight in Las Vegas which could be the sport’s biggest ever.
"It'll be wrapped up in the first four minutes," McGregor said at the Café Royal in London, repeating the trick that has served him well so far of bravely predicting his opponent’s demise.
The London stop concluded with UFC president Dana White standing firmly between McGregor and Aldo as they faced off for the cameras.
It'll be wrapped up in the first four minutes.
The tour kicked off last week with the brash Irishman nonchalantly putting his feet on the desk during a press conference in Rio de Janeiro in Aldo’s homeland of Brazil.
Amid a baying mob of aggressive Brazilian fans, McGregor spoke to the champion in his local language in the first in a series of heated face-to-face meetings.
In Vegas, where the fight will take place, McGregor provocatively stole the champion’s featherweight title belt during a photo shoot before insisting his Irish supporters would out-sing the Brazilian contingent on fight night.
“Fear has a strong stench, and he is reeking of it,” McGregor told UFC.com.
A Los Angeles appearance increased tension with neither fighter willing to acknowledge the other, before they passed through Boston where the Irish roots of the American city ensured the public were fully behind McGregor’s effervescent behaviour.
“He has not finished anybody in a long, long time,” McGregor said in the press conference. “He is a co-main event champion.”
The World Tour entered New York City – a city where the UFC is seeking legalisation – where White raised the stakes by claiming: “This thing is probably going to be a $7 million gate. It’s the biggest fight in featherweight history.”
Let fists fly
In Toronto, a television appearance turned into an altercation with Aldo accusing McGregor of playfully slapping his back. White, now accustomed to his role as president-turned-bodyguard, held them apart.
“If we stood right in the middle of the Octagon and let fists fly, he falls every time,” the Irish challenger said. “Four minutes, if he’s still on his feet? It will be a formality after that, to see how long his battle-worn chin can hold up.”
London staged the penultimate leg of the Tour but Tuesday’s event in McGregor’s hometown of Dublin – a city that came out in force to host his July win over Diego Brandao – is likely to cap off a wild ride with memorable moments.