Croker misses out on title showdown

Las Vegas will trump Croke Park as the venue for “The Notorious” Conor McGregor’s Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight title showdown against Jose Aldo. 

Croker misses out on title showdown

But the Crumlin fighter, who wowed Boston on Sunday night, insisted he will accept the opportunity no matter where it brings him after a dominant victory over Dennis Siver at the home of the Boston Celtics.

McGregor was in rare form both inside and outside the Octagon at the TD Garden, delighting the thousands of Irish and Irish-American Mixed Martial Arts fans in attendance with a post-fight brashness that matched the clinical nature of the victory which preceded it. His second round knockout safely in the bag, McGregor leapt over the fence of the cage and made a dramatic though cleverly staged advance towards the beaming champion of the division, Aldo, who had watched the fight from the second row.

Aldo had attracted some media interest prior to the fight, displaying a banner describing his next opponent as “a joker”.

The Vegas plan does of course scupper — in the short term — a plan for a bumper UFC night at Croke Park but McGregor said afterwards his focus was on toppling Aldo.

“Of course, (Croke Park) is a dream of mine, a vision of mine,” McGregor was quoted as saying in The42.ie.

“But Vegas, I’m happy with Vegas. We’re going to go to Las Vegas and one more head will be collected.

“They all think it’s fun and games, but I’m not playing here. Now we have a location, now Jose is next in line, he will be the next one to learn that it’s not all talk and it’s no joke. I’m not messing around here.”

UFC President Dana White cited the obstacles associated with Croke Park and the effect it would have on the earning potential of what could end up being the fight of the year.

“They have a curfew at night where you can’t get permits to stay out that late and do an event there,” White said.

“You lose about 25-to-30% on pay-per-view, being in another country.

“There’s the amount of money on production for Croke Park, and I guarantee you it’s going to rain. I’m not saying we’re never going to do it, but Vegas for this one.”

Ranked five paces behind McGregor, number 10 Siver was something of a disgruntled sideshow leading up to and during the fight and now the UFC has a dream fight set up for May in Vegas where Aldo will be a slight favourite to ward off the hungry McGregor, now the number one contender for featherweight title.

Referee Herb Dean stopped the fight with just under two minutes of the second round elapsed after the increasingly bloodied Siver failed to get to grips with the rangy power of his opponent.

It was the third win of the night for Irish fighters after both Cathal Pendred and McGregor’s stable-mate Paddy Holohan earned victories in earlier bouts. Pendred’s unanimous decision was controversial with most observers but was ultimately backed up by the statistics while Tallaght flyweight Holohan bounced back from a split decision to Chris Kelades last October with a much more convincing performance against Shane Howell.

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