In Vegas he may have opened as the underdog, but if you check any of the bookmakers on this side of the Atlantic, you'll more than likely see Conor McGregor as the 8/11 favourite to take the lightweight title off Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 196.
In reality, that is a crazy situation. Yes, he may have laid waste to Jose Aldo's featherweight dynasty but the simple fact of the matter is that this is his first lightweight fight for over three years and he's heading straight in to fight the best lightweight in the world. If it wasn't McGregor, you'd have to laugh at the brashness of it all. In fact, even with his pedigree, you still have to laugh at the brashness of it all.
The hype and the predictions to date have been such that fans and foes alike have had little chance but to believe it all. Many people are expecting a similar showing to UFC 194. McGregor himself, according to his prediction, is expecting something similar to UFC 194 but that's far from a certainty.
Perhaps in an effort to dampen expectations or perhaps in effort to massage McGregor's ego even more when he does what he says he's going to do, White was speaking about the upcoming title fight on Sirius Radio's 'Opie with Jim Norton'. During that chat he outlined just how much of a challenge awaits McGregor.
Conor wants to be a two-belt champion, so he wants to fight dos Anjos, which is crazy.
If you look at that guy, look what he did to 'Cowboy' Cerrone, look what he did to Ben Henderson, look what he did to Anthony Pettis. And now Conor wants to fight this guy. It's gonna be awesome.
Having said that, considering the amount of money he's making for the promotion, White was as complimentary about his golden goose as ever. And with UFC 200 around the corner, White wasn't ruling anything out for McGregor's future whether or not he defeats Dos Anjos.
It's not even about shit talk with this guy. His mental warfare game is better than anything I've ever seen in how he gets in guys' heads immediately. Very intelligent, calculated. Conor McGregor is a very interesting guy.
From flyweight to heavyweight, they all want to fight Conor McGregor. It's the money fight.
And just in case White's warning about Dos Anjos' pedigree is not enough to calm some of the McGregor hype, Joe Rogan went even more overboard with his praise for the Brazilian. Rogan was asked whether Dos Anjos' size will be too much for the featherweight champ and, although Rogan is very much a McGregor fan, he was as complimentary as possible when it came to Dos Anjos.
— Joe Rogan (@joerogan) February 1, 2016
McGregor certainly defeated the best featherweight in the UFC's history, whether he now has to defeat the best lightweight ever is up for debate. BJ Penn fans might have something to say but since his defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov, Dos Anjos has been nothing short of sensational in his defeats of Henderson, Diaz, Pettis and Cerrone.
Whatever fans may say about McGregor being given special treatment through to this point, there's no one who could say he takes the easy option.
It's with ease, and with pleasure, that I gift the fans, and the company, back to back super-fights.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) February 1, 2016