Conor McGregor is streaking towards UFC featherweight title contention.
He won eight consecutive fights before making his Octagon debut, and added back-to-back victories over Marcus Brimage and Max Holloway before a knee injury slowed him down.
After nearly a year on the sidelines, McGregor returns at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 46 in Dublin, looking to add Diego Brandão to his hit list on the way to the title.
McGregor’s confidence runs so high, he recently told MMAFighting.com, “I have a clear, clear vision that that gold belt is around my waist by the end of the year.”
Yes, that’s this year, 2014.
Whether his vision was of the crystal variety or not, it’s highly unlikely that McGregor will have a gold UFC belt around his waist before 2015.
Asked if there was any scenario where McGregor could complete his vision by the end of the year, UFC president Dana White on Friday said flatly, “No.”
That’s not to say that White doesn’t think highly of the brash Irishman. McGregor is, in fact, one of White’s favorite fighters to have recently joined the ranks of the UFC.
“I love this kid. I love his attitude. I love the way he thinks. I love how much of a real fighter this kid. All the things that make Conor McGregor, Conor McGregor, I love,” said White.
“But I’m not gonna rush him into something. This is a big test for him. Let’s be honest, if he goes in there and smokes Diego Brandao, that’s impressive.
“Then we give him another test in the Top 10. Then you move him possibly into the Top 5 if he looks impressive in that one. There’s a way to (build towards a championship fight).”
While that may be too slow of a route for McGregor, for him to one day get the gold that he foresaw in his vision, he’s going to have to learn some patience outside the Octagon to go along with his bold attitude in it.