Conor McGregor still believes a Croke Park fight is on the cards

The featherweight champion commented on the chances of him returning to Ireland after UFC 197

Conor McGregor, Rafael dos Anjos, UFC,

Image: Brian Lawless / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Speaking at the UFC 197 Press Conference ahead of his matchup against Rafael dos Anjos, Conor McGregor was in spiky form. 

He made a number of comments comparing Dos Anjos to Jose Aldo, but adding that he was a "slower, sloppier version" of the man that McGregor knocked out to take the featherweight title at UFC 194.

He also noted that, unlike Aldo, Dos Anjos was not held in such high esteem in his home country, saying that when the press tour goes through there in the coming weeks, they have had to book him a hotel "because he ran from the country of Brazil. Jose is the true champion in his country, he [Rafael] will never step off a place to a hero’s welcome at home. In Brazilian lingo, he is a gringo". 

He criticised Dos Anjos for setting up camp in America, labeling him a traitor, something which the Brazilian took exception to. 

"For me this doesn’t make any sense. The whole world knows about the American Dream, and there are people here from all over the world, Ireland Brazil...these people don’t deserve to be called traitors. This guy is calling me traitor for coming to live here, having my kids here".

When asked about where he would be training, McGregor stated that Ireland was the only choice, and that he would be heading back on Thursday to rejoin his team. 

With the conversation focused on his home country, McGregor also fielded questions on where talks for a possible stadium fight in Ireland were. 

He stated that Croke Park was still definitely an option, but there was a lot of work to be done if the deal was to go ahead, nothing that "there are restrictions, they've pulled concerts from the venue previously". 

"I do crave my stadium fight in Dublin, but I just have to roll with the punches here, it's an operation to set up a stadium show like that". 

He added that there were a lot of moving parts to the deal, and "it’s a risk to go in and do something like that when I’m knocking them out so easily and so smoothly. I will get back to Dublin, we will do the show, but it takes time. This is a marathon, not a sprint. I look forward to one day having my home country lit up with a stadium show, but it is a work in process".

McGregor also distanced himself from recent comments that there was increasing tension between himself and UFC president Dana White, denying that his arriving late to the press conference was sending any sort of message.

"No, business is phenomenal. All you gotta do is look back at last year for myself and the company. I apologise for my timekeeping, I do not wear watches to tell the time, I operate on my own time".

White also said "Conor has kepthis word on everything he said he would do. He was a little late to the press conference today, but other than that he's done everything that he said he would do since the day he set foot in here. He said he would fight four times a year, he really likes money, and I believe he will do it".