If there’s a UFC card in Ireland, Conor McGregor wants to be part of it. | Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog.com
Conor McGregor has long spoken of headlining a stadium show in Ireland, but even if it’s a smaller UFC Fight Night card that’s headed to his homeland, you can rest assured the featherweight contender wants to be a part of it.
Earlier this week, the UFC announced that it would return to Dublin for an event at the 3Arena, formerly known as the O2, on Oct. 24. While the idea of taking center stage at a massive venue in Dublin remains the dream, McGregor still has plenty of interest in competing on the Fight Night card.
“[UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta] was trying to say, ‘Well, we want bigger stadiums’ because this is in the O2, which is like a 9,500-seat stadium in Dublin,” McGregor said during a recent conference call. “He wants me on a bigger one. You don’t have a show in my hometown and not have me on it. I want to be on that card. We will see what way it plays out. Any time the UFC rolls into my town, I most certainly want to be on that card.”
The SBG Ireland representative headlined the Las Vegas-based promotion’s last trip to Dublin in July 2014, a card that was lauded for its electricity and overall atmosphere. Much to the delight of a partisan crowd, McGregor put away Diego Brandao in the opening stanza.
“We make ourselves heard; 9,500 Irish fans screaming sound like 19,500. Lorenzo said it was too small for me and wanted to do a stadium show. Yes, I want to do a stadium show, but if you come back to my home city I want to be on that card,” McGregor reiterated. “I built this here. I’m the one that put the UFC on the map here. If you’re coming into my hometown, you best believe I want on the show.”
Of course, there are currently more pressing matters at hand. McGregor will face Chad Mendes for the interim featherweight crown at UFC 189 on July 11. The Irishman’s appeal seems to extend beyond The Emerald Isle, however. Even with rival Aldo out of the fight, McGregor expects to bring a healthy contingent of fans to the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“The number of tickets] I believe was 2,400 to 2,500 from Ireland in particular,” McGregor said. “But that doesn’t factor in the Irish that are living in America, the Irish that are coming from all areas of the globe. But I believe 2,500 specifically from the island of Ireland purchased tickets. Like I said, it’s the McGregor show. As long as I’m on the show, they will show up and I will put on a show for my countrymen.”
UFC Director of Public Relations Dave Sholler briefly interjected to confirm that interest in the event remains high, thanks in large part to McGregor.
“More than 20 percent of ticket sales have come from Europe, representative of Ireland in particular,” he said. “At this present moment there have been no substantial refunds to report.”