Conor McGregor dominates stage at UFC 197 news conference

Conor McGregor dominates stage at UFC 197 news conference
UFC fighter Conor McGregor arrives late for a UFC 197 news conference at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Jan. 20. (L.E. Baskow / Las Vegas Sun)

As expected, Conor McGregor seized control of the UFC 197 news conference Wednesday in Las Vegas.

The featherweight champion, seeking to become the first simultaneous two-belt champion when he fights Orange County-based Brazilian lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos on March 5 at MGM Grand, showed up late.


"I don't wear a watch to tell time ... I operate on my own time," McGregor announced.

In addition to the main event between McGregor (19-2) and Dos Anjos (24-7), the card also includes unbeaten women's bantamweight champion Holly Holm making her first title defense, against Miesha Tate.

The brash McGregor boasted he'll seek to produce another stunning performance like his showing at UFC 194, when he knocked out former champion Jose Aldo in 13 seconds to claim the belt.

B.J. Penn and Randy Couture are the only fighters to win titles in two weight classes.

"I chose this [fight] because I came into this promotion as a two-division fighter," McGregor said. "I always wanted to replicate that.  That was the goal, to continue to create history.

"This man across from me (nodding to Dos Anos) has a title. He has nothing else but that. He is a free-TV fighter and he has nothing else to offer me except that gold belt."

The more-reserved Dos Anjos has won five consecutive fights over top-10 opponents,  including Benson Henderson, Nate Diaz and Donald Cerrone.

He claimed the lightweight championship in a dominating win over Anthony Pettis at UFC 185, and defended it last month with a first-round destruction of Cerrone.

"I'm not a trash talker. I respect my opponents. I talk the truth.  On March 5, I will send him home sad and I'm going to keep my belt," Dos Anjos said.

The popular Irishman sought to pepper Dos Anjos with insults, repeating the mind games that enraged Aldo before.

"I'll send [Dos Anjos] back home to California. I knocked out Jose Aldo, Brazil's true champion, and I saw how he and his team handled themselves," McGregor said. "They never learned the language of their oppressor. He never came to America.

"[Dos Anjos] will never step off a plane and receive a hero's welcome in the country of Brazil because he ran from the country.  He didn't trust his own. That's why Jose [Aldo] is the true champion in his own country. This guy [Dos Anjos], in Brazilian lingo, is a gringo."

Holm (10-0) stunned the MMA world when she knocked out Ronda Rousey with a head kick in Australia in November.

She'll face top-ranked contender Tate (17-5), who was bypassed by the UFC for Holm in that title fight.


Tate, a former Strikeforce champion, lost to Rousey in two previous fights.

Rousey requested more time off before a rematch with Holm to finish filming the remake of "Roadhouse," which has been delayed.

"This is the opportunity that's ahead of me and [Tate's] a totally different fighter," said Holm, a former boxing world champion.

"It is a huge challenge for me, but that's the way I like to go. I want to feel like I'm against the best because that brings out the best in me."

Tate said she briefly considered retirement following her disappointment when told she wouldn't get the title shot originally.

"I don't take a title opportunity lightly. I put my whole life into this sport and give it everything I have," Tate said. "And when I think I'm going to get a title shot, I'm like a hungry beast and it's just like you took that steak away from me and I was pretty [upset].

"It was a whirlwind of emotions, but now here we are and everything worked out the way it was supposed to work out."

Follow Alex Solano on Twitter @alexsolano3676