Mixed martial artists are typically hesitant to look beyond their next bout. However, Conor McGregor has never been a typical fighter.
McGregor, who has made a quick splash since his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut in 2013, has a habit of mapping out his career well in advance. He hopes it will lead to superstardom and a swollen bank account.
The 26-year-old nicknamed “The Notorious” accurately foreshadowed the outcomes of his last two fights, predicted his sudden rise to UFC prominence and declared the featherweight title soon would be his.
He’s one victory away from getting his shot. If McGregor (16-2 mixed martial arts, 4-0 UFC) can defeat Dennis Siver (22-9, 11-6) in Sunday’s UFC Fight Night headliner at Boston’s TD Garden (7 p.M. ET, Fox Sports 1), he will challenge UFC champion Jose Aldo this year.
According to UFC President Dana White, the potential title fight could take place in Las Vegas or possibly McGregor’s native Ireland. However, winning the belt is just the beginning of the fighter’s lofty five-year plan.
“I definitely want to go down as the greatest of all time, and I definitely want to make a hell of a lot of money in the process,” McGregor told USA TODAY Sports. “Five years down the road? I don’t really plan long term. I live my long-term goals every day in my reality, but in my mind I am already a multiple-weight world champion.”.
McGregor, who held two titles with the United Kingdom-based Cage Warriors promotion before signing with the UFC, doesn’t look past opponents; instead, he says, he looks through them. He expects to handily defeat Siver, a 10-1 underdog, and then dethrone Aldo, who has emerged as one of the sport’s top pound-for-pound fighters during his 18-fight winning streak.
Once the belt is around his waist, McGregor said, he has several passion projects he wants to pursue in the sport. Most notably, the Irishman is determined to face an opponent with a strong wrestling base. Fans and fellow fighters have criticized the promotional push the UFC has given McGregor, especially because he has yet to face an elite grappler in UFC competition.
Should he get the title, McGregor said, his first goal is to defend it against top contenders such as Frankie Edgar or Chad Mendes, former collegiate wrestlers who would be relentless in the pursuit of takedowns.
“After I take the belt from Jose in my home country, the wrestler question is a question I’d like to answer,” McGregor said. “The fans keep bringing up the wrestler scenario, and I’d like to answer that question.”.
The plan doesn’t stop there. After solidifying his status as the world’s top 145-pounder with a few title defenses, he wants to jump up a weight class, win the lightweight belt and become the third fighter in UFC history to capture titles in two divisions.
“I’ll defend my belt, and then it’s on to the 155-pound weight division,” McGregor said. “After that, I’ll be winning the belt at 155, and then we’ll go from there.”.
His predictions might be bold, but McGregor speaks with conviction. Still, the grand plans have riled some of his colleagues. Most notably? Sunday’s opponent, Siver, who’s eager to play spoiler to one of the UFC’s hottest commodities.
“I’m going to leave the octagon as the winner, I’m going to leave the octagon as the spoiler, and Conor’s title shot is going away,” he said.
Bohn writes for MMAJunkie.