Conor McGregor stole the show at a UFC 205 press conference Tuesday, and he put Jeremy Stephens in his place.
McGregor was asked who his toughest challenger would be after he fights Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205. Before McGregor could say a word, Stephens interrupted and said he would be McGregor’s toughest test.
McGregor’s response? Who the bleep is this guy?
“That was probably the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever seen in all of mixed martial arts press conferences,” MMA Noise host Mike Straka said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Jeremy Stephens, he is not a joke of a fighter. He’s a journeyman. He’s really never going to be a champion, to be honest with you. He’s fighting Frankie Edgar, and Frankie’s probably going to beat him because Frankie’s knows how to avoid those big hands that he has. But what he was trying to say was, Conor, you TKO people; I knock people out – and when he does knock people out, they don’t wake up. But the fact that he even tried to get in the conversation was so embarrassing.”
Indeed, Stephens (25-12), who will fight Frankie Edgar (20-5-1) at UFC 205, probably picked the wrong time to try to send a message to McGregor.
“Listen, I was there,” Straka said. “If there were 3,000 people in that arena, there were 2,500 Irishman and Irishwomen – and I’m not even joking about that. This press conference could have been in Dublin. Everybody from the Irish pubs were there. I don’t think any Irish pub was open from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. because every employee of every Irish pub was at Madison Square Garden. When you have that kind of power and Conor knows how to work an audience – that man, I swear he’s a genius on the microphone. It doesn’t hurt that he backs it up inside the octagon. I’ve been covering the sport since 2001, and I’ve never seen a person that has such command of an audience, command of his fans.
“A lot of UFC fighters have a lot of loyal fans,” Straka continued, “but I’ve never seen anything like this (with) Conor McGregor. Not even Anderson Silva has Brazilian fans who are as loyal and as dedicated as the Irish fans are. He just knows how to rally them – and when they rally, they rally.”
Then again, McGregor seems to have that effect on a lot of people.
“Conor said something very interesting tonight,” Straka said. “He said look at all these guys up here. They’re all trying to dress like me and they’re all trying to talk like me. It’s a very telling thing because everybody up there was in a beautiful custom suit with beautiful silk. Chris Weidman was wearing a suit that looked like it was made by Giorgio Armani. It was a beautiful suit. You didn’t see that five years ago. You didn’t even see that a year ago. When Conor came in and he started dressing up and being flashy, everybody started doing the same thing. I just love the guy. I can’t get enough of him.”