Conor McGregor is often compared to Chael Sonnen, and on the latest edition of Bruce Buffer’s “It’s Time!” podcast, Sonnen spoke about “The Notorious” one, making some very candid and entertaining comments about the rising Irish superstar.
“The American Gangster” from West Linn, Oregon first put over McGregor’s actual fighting abilities and the fact that he’s able to deal with high-pressure circumstances.
“I love everything that Conor McGregor is doing,” said Sonnen. “I think he’s very entertaining and I think he’s an outstanding fighter. He also dealt with a tremendous amount of pressure when he fought in his hometown in a main event in Ireland. He sold that out, it was packed, the whole thing was based around him. And I think Diego Brandao is about as tough a customer as you’re gonna get, particularly in the first round and Conor was able to finish him inside of five minutes.”
Sonnen did admit, however, that he’s not convinced yet that McGregor has what it takes to score victories over the UFC Featherweight division’s top-three contenders.
“So to just speak about Conor’s skills — I think everything’s in place there. Is he good enough to beat the top three? Frankie Edgar, one of the greatest of all-time. Chad Mendes, Jose Aldo, one of the greatest of all-time. Ehh, I don’t know. I guess we’re just gonna have to see. I would be very impressed if he did.”
The former multiple-time UFC title contender also spoke about McGregor’s entertaining interview style, explaining that he’s not just talking-trash, he’s entertaining fans, which is part of a fighters’ job description.
“But when I see people watch Conor McGregor and say that he’s talking trash, they don’t understand what he’s doing and you’re not listening to his interviews,” said Sonnen. “Conor’s not up there talking trash. There’s some stuff getting thrown in there, sure. There’s some guys that he’s bringing down. He’s talking himself up. He’s not always insulting other guys, but a little of that happens, but he’s out there entertaining. He has something to say. You’ll have these fighters go out there and say, ‘Oh, I’m not here to talk, I’m here to fight. I’m a fighter.’ Well, that’s not really true when you’re sitting at a press conference wearing a suit that the company bought you. You’re not there to fight, you are there to talk. That’s what a press conference is, genius. When you’re doing a post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, you’re not there to fight. You’re there to do the interview, that’s why he’s holding the microphone, and some of these guys just don’t understand it. And what Conor McGregor is — more than he’s a great trash-talker — is he’s a great entertainer. The guy’s got a gimmick, he’s got a unique look, he’s got a great accent. This comes with his country — he’s patriotic to his country. He’s an Irishman.”
One of the most interesting portions of the Sonnen interview on Buffer’s podcast was when he revealed some pre-fight advice he gave to Chad Mendes before his title match with Jose Aldo at UFC 179.
“If I was fighting him, if I was getting ready to fight Conor McGregor, okay? And I told Chad Mendes this. I told Chad Mendes — quit talking about Jose Aldo. You’ve already got Jose Aldo. You don’t need to talk about that fight anymore. You need to be talking about Conor McGregor. Jose Aldo is gonna bring you a belt. Conor McGregor is gonna bring you money, and at the end of the day, you’re a prize fighter. Wait. Don’t tweet this. Wait until the right high-definition camera is on you. Wait until you have the right high-quality microphone and then look deep in the camera and say, ‘I want to make this very clear. I am an American and I’ll kick the ass outta any Irishman out there. Conor McGregor, I will come to your house and whip your ass in your back yard right in front of your mother. Do you even have a back yard? Do they even have back yards in Ireland, because all I’ve ever seen is brick buildings with holes in them!'”
Sonnen concluded, “And I would leave it at that. Conor McGregor will take it from there. Wait for the right camera, wait for the right microphone [and] deliver that speech one time.”