Conor McGregor participates in a news conference in New York, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018. McGregor is returning to UFC after a two-year absence. He fights undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov on Oct. 6. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Only in New York: McGregor takes shots, swigs 'em in return

September 20, 2018 - 6:20 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Conor McGregor bellied up to his makeshift bar, plopped his dress shoes on the table and took a swig of his own Irish whiskey.

Take a shot for every profanity belched out by the returning star?

You'd be toast.

But UFC can raise a glass to the return of the most loquacious, dangerous and biggest money-making star in the promotion's 25-year history. McGregor sat on the Radio City Music Hall stage — the second home for Santa Claus — and tried to make believers out of his doubters that he's back and ready to shake off his rust and beat Khabib Nurmagomedov in the main event of UFC 229 in October.

McGregor took center stage in a fitting city to hype his comeback after a two-year hiatus — he last fought in November 2016 at Madison Square Garden and it was this past April in Brooklyn where he went wild in an underground rampage, with Nurmagomedov his intended target. McGregor was arrested, and was sentenced to perform five days of community service, avoiding jail time in a plea deal.

No one can put a lid on his mouth.

McGregor brought two UFC championship belts with him, though he holds no title, and a bottle of his Proper No. Twelve whiskey. He saved his biggest shots for Nurmagomedov:

—McGregor on his wrestling ability to Nurmagomedov: "You're going to be wrestling my knuckle out of your orbital bone."

— McGregor on what would have happened had he got to Nurmagomedov in April: "He'd be in a box and I'd be in a cell."

—McGregor on his branded booze sponsoring the fight: "It's on the canvas. Like his blood will be on the canvas."

McGregor and Nurmagomedov will meet on Oct. 6 in the main event of the UFC 229 pay-per-view show at T-Mobile Arena, the same spot where Floyd Mayweather stopped McGregor in the 10th round of their one-sided prizefight.

Nurmagomedov is a formidable challenger for McGregor in a return from a 23-month break in MMA competition, but McGregor has never backed down from a challenge.

McGregor was guaranteed $30 million last year in his ballyhooed boxing match against Mayweather, and UFC President Dana White openly wondered if his star attraction would ever return to the cage.

McGregor loves the show as much as he loves a fight. He was over-the-top at times, shouted over Nurmagomedov whenever he had an opening and carried on like the boisterous entertainer he is to sell the fight.

"I came back for the love of fighting and the love of war," McGregor said. "I'm going to truly, truly love putting a bad, bad beating on this little glass-jaw rat."

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