Conor McGregor, the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s scrappy featherweight champion, is known for being a thorn in the side of his rivals.
Throughout his meteoric rise to become one of the top names on the UFC’s current roster, the “Notorious” (as Conor is known throughout the UFC) has had a penchant for driving past, future, and possible opponents crazy, and he seems to delight in his status as the UFC’s clown prince.
Now, it appears the 27-year old Conor can add a new name to his ever-expanding list of foes: Pastor Donnie Romero.
It all started back in December, when McGregor told TMZ that he could “whoop” Jesus’ “a**” in a fight.
Needless to say, Romero, who is a pastor at the Stedfast Baptist Church in Forth Worth, Texas, did not take kindly to the rowdy Irishman’s blasphemy.
But rather than turn the other cheek, the pastor enlisted the help of the Almighty in the hopes of striking the “Notorious” one down with a lightning bolt so that “everybody in the world… will know that it was God, it was Jesus that struck him down.”
“He said if Jesus Christ was in the ring with me, I’d knock him out!” the angry pastor said. “The guy is a UFC fighter. That guy is nothing. That guy, I’m going to pray that God strikes him down with a lightning bolt!”
Romero did not limit his wrath to the featherweight champion, either. McGregor’s fans, according to the pastor, were no better.
“And if you watch him and you’re a fan of his and you call yourself a Christian, shame on you! You’re not right with God! It’s wicked as hell.”
The Irishman’s impiety also roused the ire of former UFC fighter, Wanderlei Silva. But instead of depending on God to dole out justice to McGregor, Silva promised to take matters into his own hands.
“And when I meet this guy, for everything he said about Jesus, I will slap this motherf****r in the face.”
Romero and Silva may not have to wait for God to turn McGregor into a heap of ash, though.
On March 5, Conor will be taking on the UFC’s current lightweight champion, Rafeal dos Anjos, in a champion-versus-champion super fight at UFC 196 (formerly UFC 197).
As a devout Christian who regularly praises God on social media, dos Anjos will certainly take joy in teaching Conor some piety. Rafael will also be fighting in his own weight class, giving him what may be the necessary advantage to put an end to McGregor’s seemingly unstoppable stampede through the world’s largest mixed martial arts promotion.
Asked about his opponent’s sacrilege, dos Anjos told the media at the UFC 197 press conference (starts at 20:50) that people like Conor have “no respect for anybody.”
The lightweight champion then warned that he was “a single tool in Jesus’ hand” and on March 5, his opponent “will see and feel what a single tool in Jesus’ hand will do to him.”
McGregor brushed off his opponent’s threats, assuring the media that he “and Jesus are cool.” He then spouted off more blasphemy by implying he himself was a god, and “Gods recognize gods.”
While it may be tempting to write off the flashy Dubliner’s bragging as hollow showmanship, Conor has proven time and time again that he can back up everything he says.
McGregor is currently riding a 15-fight win streak. He has not lost since 2010, and seventeen of his nineteen wins have come by way of knockout. Only two losses have sullied his record.
Overcoming the “Notorious” one’s hype train will therefore be no easy task, and whoever dares to step in the octagon with Conor McGregor will have his (or His) work cut out.
[Photo by Steve Marcus/ Getty Images]