Is Conor McGregor MMA's answer to Muhammad Ali? UFC president Dana White thinks so, at least in terms of the "mental" game.
White explained his reasoning to Yahoo Sports:
It's too early to tell if Conor is one of the greatest fighters ever, though we're getting close [to being able to tell]. A win over Jose Aldo would get him going in the right direction, obviously.
But I can tell you this, without reservation: He is the greatest mental warfare fighter I have ever met. Ever. The best. He doesn't just fuck with the guys he's going to fight. He fucks with everybody.
He does admit though that it's a bit of "sacrilege" to compare anyone to a martial arts icon like Ali, but McGregor, he'll make an exception:
I know it's sacrilege to compare anybody to Muhammad Ali in anything in the fight business. You don't ever want to be comparing people to Muhammad Ali, but he's the only one who comes to mind when it comes to the mental warfare that Conor wages.
For his part, McGregor has been doing everything in his power to earn that reputation. He's embarked on a months long campaign of insults and taunts aimed at his upcoming opponent, featherweight champ Jose Aldo, including stealing Aldo's championship belt at a press conference in March.