Is it flattery or strategy? Time will tell.
For now, Eddie Alvarez's coach, Mark Henry is heaping praise on UFC featherweight champion, Conor McGregor.
"When you do fight Conor, there's a lot of people watching, and deservedly so. Even before being a fighter, he's an amazing entertainer," offered Henry in an interview with Off The Ball. "He's hilarious, he's got an accent which goes far in America. Great accent and he's awesome. He's got knockout power. He's an amazing fighter. Some of the best stand-up I've ever seen. He's fast, he's smart."
Henry showered McGregor with compliments, before his protege, Alvarez, the UFC lightweight champion, attempts to defend his newly won title against the Irishman on Nov. 12 the at UFC 205.
Is it possible that Henry is trying to disarm the vitriolic Irishman? McGregor has been successful psyching out his opponents prior to the actual fights themselves, and he was in vintage form last week at the first UFC 205 press conference.
Alvarez, however, is nonplussed with McGregor, and is unafraid to say so.
Henry seems to be attempting to play the role of good cop in this war of words, and he may be trying to soften McGregor's guard.
In the interview, he said McGregor's wrestling ability can be "under-valued."
It's a step back from his previous comments.
"I'm very apologetic for what I did say about Conor. A coach should definitely not disrespect a fighter and it was definitely no place for me to talk about," Henry said in the interview.
McGregor is trying to become the first person in UFC history to hold championship belts in two different weight divisions simultaneously. The UFC has rolled out the red carpet for the Dubliner, letting him bounce around from featherweight to welterweight and now lightweight, because of his ability to sell PPVs.
McGregor enjoys insulting his opponents, while marketing himself as the best thing the UFC has to offer.
Alvarez is much more low key. He is, however, a veteran. He is a former Bellator lightweight champion, and is known for his heart and determination, and ability to battle deep into a fight.
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