Conor McGregor basks in being favored to defeat Jose Aldo

Conor McGregor has talked his way to Ultimate Fighting Championship prominence, a title shot and now favored status in his Dec. 12 featherweight championship showdown with Brazil’s Jose Aldo.

The Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas lists Ireland's McGregor (18-2) as a minus-150 (just less than 2/1) favorite at UFC 194 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, said Jay Kornegay, the sports book's director.


He spoke of planning a conquest of Aldo (25-1).

The two were scheduled to fight in July but Aldo was forced to withdraw after suffering a rib injury.

"Things happen for a reason," McGregor said Wednesday in Los Angeles.

McGregor defeated substitute Chad Mendes to claim the interim featherweight championship.

"It gave me an opportunity to silence a lot of doubters who said I was being protected by the UFC," McGregor said of his second-round victory. "A lot of people said I was being protected by this particular kind of opponent, the American wrestler. No way they sacrifice the cash cow and put him in with an American wrestler. … Nothing can stop me. I've become bulletproof here [pointing to his head] and here in my body.  There's nothing that can break my mindset."

Aldo, the only featherweight champion in UFC history, is undefeated in the organization and riding a 15-fight winning streak. He hasn't lost in more than 10 years.

But now McGregor's the favorite.

"I focus on me," he said. "This is the fight game. You focus on yourself. They give me media obligations, I handle it.

"My main place of business is inside that octagon. That is where I truly shine. You can sugar-coat it or you can hide it like a lot of them say or you can say it's all about the talk or all about the media, but when I get in there, I put it on. I put on a show. I come to fight.  And this fight will be a performance. I'm not just trying to beat Jose, I'm trying to embarrass him."

McGregor ranks with Ronda Rousey as the UFC's top draws.

"I absolutely love this business, everything that goes along with it," McGregor said. "When I'm walking out to that octagon, it almost feels like I'm shackled and I'm taking the shackles off and I'm freeing the chains off of me as I walk. And when I get in there, I'm free.

"After this media session, I plan on driving to Vegas. No airport, no flights. Just four hours with the open road and my visions.

"I said way back that I would be the favorite if this was made. I'm coming in a heavy favorite and you'll see that in the betting lines."

Twitter: @alexsolano0306