Conor McGregor's confidence is at an all-time high after an impressive UFC debut, and if things continue as planned, the best could be yet to come from the highly touted featherweight prospect.
Some fighters go their entire careers without ever winning a UFC fight bonus, but McGregor was able to get the job done in his first bout as a UFC fighter.
At UFC on Fuel 9, McGregor won honors for "Knockout of the Night" after earning an incredible first-round TKO stoppage over Marcus Brimage, who was unbeaten in his UFC career. McGregor's stock has grown significantly since the win, and he is already being pegged by many as arguably the UFC's top prospect.
In his prime, Muhammad Ali used to predict in what rounds he would finish opponents. Initially, the comments weren't taken seriously. People would often laugh and chalk the comments up as pre-fight gibberish used to sell more tickets. The laughter quickly ended when Ali actually made good on his predictions.
Before his fight with Brimage, McGregor predicted in several interviews that he would steal the show and get an early knockout. After the fight, he could hardly contain himself from cracking a smile in the direction of those who took his prediction as modern-day gibberish.
"What did I say before the fight? I wasn't lying. Everything went to plan. I don't know what it is, but I've got a vision in my head and it's all happening exactly how I see it happening," said McGregor in an interview with Independent, an Irish news outlet.
Earlier that night, Dana brought the fighters into a little room in the back of the arena to give us a pep talk. He told us that they were paying $60,000 for 'Knockout of the Night' and I knew right then I was going to win it. It was like a dream.
The win marked McGregor's 12th knockout in 15 fights.
At only 24 years old, McGregor has a rare opportunity to do great things in the sport, and unlike most young fighters, he isn't afraid to be vocal about it. The boisterous predictions and futuristic claims of greatness come from an unwavering confidence that most couldn't even begin to understand.
McGregor is a long way from being compared to combat greats like Ali, but he believes his name will hold significant weight someday. If his first prediction didn't steal headlines, his most recent one certainly will. He told Independent:
By the time I'm 30, I'll be the pound-for-pound champion and I'll be considered in the same light as Anderson Silva. That's six years from now. I'm doing this to secure my family's future. I don't have kids right now, but when I do decide to I want them to come into a good life.
Ali claimed he was the greatest before he even knew it. Will McGregor be the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world in six years?
The countdown is on.
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