“When you look into a man’s eyes—look him dead in the eye—you can see straight into his soul,” Conor McGregor maintained on the UFC 189 conference call last week. McGregor said that when he looked into Jose Aldo’s eyes, the Brazilian’s soul informed him: “This mother—er doesn’t want to be here.”
Whatever those brown eyes told McGregor, the Irishman’s tongue makes it clear that he still has Jose Aldo on the brain. For months, King Conor has taunted, teased, and tortured the stoic Brazilian. Then, less than two weeks before their heavily hyped bout, the challenger received official word that he fights not the champion but a guy the champion beat twice.
“I don’t blame the man,” the 145-pounder informs. “I was going to f—ing butcher him—rip him limb from limb. I wouldn’t want to face that either.”
McGregor sees Mendes as “a substitute.” Mendes sees McGregor as an opportunity. He fights to gain what Aldo twice denied him. McGregor fights to lose a shot against the champion but without much to win.
Even McGregor’s digs at Chad Mendes worked more as digs toward Jose Aldo. “It would have been nice if Jose didn’t p—y out,” McGregor declared. “We’ll take the B-level guy.”
Relative newcomer McGregor, critics maintained, talked his way into a bout with the longest reigning champion in the UFC currently. In all his bluster telling Aldo he wanted to “turn his favela into a Reebok sweatshop” and ordering the champion to spit-shine “my belt,” McGregor aimed to psych out the respectful, and respected, Brazilian. In psyching out Jose Aldo for the past six months, Conor McGregor may have ultimately psyched himself out.
“There is a psychological war taking place,” King Conor informed his subjects in Boston. “But I already won.”
In playing mind games with Jose Aldo, Conor McGregor may have played himself.