Conor McGregor’s divisive persona means there are always going to be those associated with the UFC who aren’t huge fans. But it seems as though middleweight star Luke Rockhold dislikes the fighting Irishman a little more than most.
McGregor has become a key figure in the sport after some colourful antics and vibrant performances, but Rockhold thinks the interim featherweight champion may be getting a little too big for his boots after some recent successes, per Matt Erickson and Justin Park of MMAjunkie *warning, expletives used*:
He’s starting to believe his own hype, and he thinks he’s way bigger than the sport now, which is kind of annoying.
We’ll see how it all pans out in the future for the guy. But usually, guys who rise that fast fall even harder. We’ll see if he can keep his crown—and I wouldn’t even say his crown. His title is the No. 1 contender. The guy’s not a champion.
He just needs to calm down a little bit. He could win the belt—I’m not saying he can’t. But he’s strutting around backstage (at the ‘Go Big’ press conference) like his d–k’s 10 feet long, and the belt around his head, and his chest puffed out. It’s like, cool the f–ck down.
The man known as Notorious is scheduled to fight Jose Aldo at UFC 194 for the featherweight title in December. McGregor is currently the interim owner of the belt after he beat Chad Mendes in July; the Irishman was meant to fight former champion Aldo, but he pulled out of the bout due to injury.
Rockhold will be sharing the spotlight with McGregor at UFC 194, as he goes up against Chris Weidman for 185-pound championship in the co-main event.
McGregor isn’t to everyone’s taste, but as noted by Chamatkar Sandhu of MMAjunkie, the Irishman is always box office:
Indeed, the build-up to this fight with Aldo should be intriguing. Before their previous bout was called off, the two men were at each other at various press conferences around the world, with McGregor the main instigator of any needle. It ended with the Irishman grabbing the champion’s belt in front of a raucous Dublin crowd:
Rockhold is a lot more straightforward by comparison. So it’s easy to see how someone that’s typically pretty introverted would be irritated by the colourful bravado that seems to accompany McGregor wherever he goes in the world. The middleweight is a man who would much rather let his work in the Octagon do the talking for him.
For a sport still striving to make a mark on the global stage, characters like McGregor are important. Of course, he can be grating, but his brash machismo makes him instantly recognisable and a thoroughly entertaining fighter to watch too. For assured but quiet guys like Rockhold, it’s probably a little over the top.
McGregor won’t stop, though, and you can bet there will be plenty more highlight moments as hype builds toward his showdown with Aldo. And as long as he keeps backing his antics up with accomplished displays inside the Octagon, there can be few complaints about the Irishman’s continued bullishness.
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