Dana White says Dennis Siver should not be taken lightly. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
It’s no secret that UFC President Dana White is one of Conor McGregor’s biggest supporters.
However, heading into UFC Fight Night in Boston, White isn’t discounting the “Notorious” Irishman’s opponent in the main evening’s main event, either. While Dennis Siver will be a massive underdog come Sunday night, the Russian-born German is an 18-time Octagon veteran with notable wins over the likes of Spencer Fisher, George Sotiropoulos, Matt Wiman and Diego Nunes during his promotional tenure.
“Nobody thought that Conor could beat Poirier and that he was taking too big of a step up,” White told UFC.com. “He wins, and then now for anybody to think that Siver couldn’t ruin this whole thing is nuts because the kid can punch.”
Of course, McGregor remains the star of the show. The former Cage Warriors titlist recently made the rounds on the ESPN campus to promote the fight and had a 30-minute special, “UFC Rising: Conor McGregor,” air on Fox Sports 1. The McGregor buzz appears to be taking hold in Beantown, too.
“This kid has fought four times in the UFC and he is going to sell out the Boston (TD) Garden,” White said. “Tickets are clipping 300 a day, it’s insane. That is a huge feat for a kid who has only fought four times in the UFC.”
That star power is part of the reason why White has said that a victory over Siver will earn McGregor a title shot against reigning featherweight king Jose Aldo. McGregor has dispatched his four UFC foes in dominating fashion and owns a 12-fight winning streak overall that dates back to February 2011.
While his in-cage talents are undeniable, the SBG Ireland representative’s ability to work a microphone and sell a fight has played a large role in his rapid ascent in the featherweight division.
“There are many fascinating things about Conor McGregor,” White said. “Number one, the way that he speaks, it’s not trash talking. He 100 percent believes in himself and that he’ll be the world champion. If you sit in a room with him for 15 minutes, he’ll make you f---ing believe it, too.”
There remains a contingent of fighters, fans and pundits who believe it has been too much, too soon for the cocksure Irish star. For now, Siver is next in line to get a shot at derailing McGregor’s considerable hype.
“Conor has talked so much s--t about him and has definitely fueled the fire,” White said. “Siver said he’s coming to Boston to punish Conor McGregor. … Siver is a durable, tough guy who f----ing hits hard.”