McGregor toasted, Aldo roasted as Irish fans begin to assemble

Joe Callaghan reports from Las Vegas

This was more like it for Conor McGregor. Unfortunately for Jose Aldo, it was also a fresh reminder of how he is seen by his Irish rivals disciples.

As the trans-Atlantic troops began to pitch up to Las Vegas in much more significant numbers on Thursday, the UFC's two most indomitable featherweights went through public work-outs for the gathered masses ahead of Saturday night's collision at UFC 194.

They didn't hold back. McGregor was toasted, Aldo roasted.

Irish fans interrupted the Brazilian pound-for-pound phenom's brief question and answers session with jibes about the injury which ruled him out of the original date for this showdown in July.

"You've got no ribs!" was the cry as Aldo struggled to make himself heard.

When McGregor emerged an hour later for a much more thorough run-through, he was saluted and serenaded.

The 27-year-old told his adoring public to keep their flags waving as he again zeroed in on his elder rival's mental state.

"I feel that he feels like he is handcuffed and forced into this. He doesn't want to be there. He's forced," said McGregor of the undefeated champion, who hasn't fought for a full 14 months.

"The man is forced to do this. When I look into his eyes he's confused, he doesn't know where he is. He cannot wait for this to be over.

"Respect for me is earned through battle. If he shows up, fights with his heart, you have my respect.

"A man that has ran? I cannot respect a man who has ran who has evaded. If he stands across from me in the octagon and gives me the exchanges he says he can [I will respect him]."

McGregor spent a significant chunk of his tune-up working one-on-one with his movement guru Ido Portal, including one slightly bizarre routine that involved dodging a remarkably slow moving stick that Portal waved over and back.

Nonetheless, McGregor looked in supreme condition, the knee injury that dogged his build-up to the hastily arranged interim title fight with Chad Mendes in July, clearly no longer an issue.

He also said that there will be no problems when he steps on the scales here on Friday night.

"I wasn't lying when I said I had a hell of a lot of adversity to overcome [last time]," said McGregor, for whom this is likely to be his last fight at featherweight before a planned move up to the lightweight division.

"Here you see me in my prime, no corners cut. I feel good, look good in my face. This is the day before weigh-in, the toughest day for a competitor and I feel Saturday night I will reap the rewards."

When pressed as to whether the current financial rewards he's reaping are sufficient, McGregor insisted he's happy with his current deal with the UFC. He would however like to be in the octagon more often.

"I feel I'm already making [enough] I don't feel like an employee," he said. "I feel like a business associate. A lot of them don't want to fight. I would have had about three more fights by now [if I was in charge of it].

"I would love freedom to pick and choose my fights of course - while you're young, fresh and healthy. Stay busy, get in and compete."

In the inhospitable surroundings, Aldo didn't linger long. The 29-year-old did again say he is ready to handle all that comes at him here on Saturday night.

"On our feet, I will knock him out. On the ground, I will submit him. I don't care. Wherever the fight goes I'm gonna end this fight," said the Brazilian.

"I've always been involved in big fights. My first fight in the UFC was in front of 50,000 people. I always want to be involved in fights like these. It's a great event and it's a great fight.

"I think we're going to be able to break a lot of records and make a lot of money. Wherever the fight goes, I'm going to end this fight."

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