Richard Hunter for 105.3 The Fan

DUBLIN (105.3 THE FAN) — In Ireland, the name Conor McGregor has become synonymous with The Ultimate Fighting Championship, and it would seem that this one man is almost single handedly responsible for pushing Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card in Dublin to the top of the country’s headlines in anticipation of his 145 pound featherweight main event showdown. (main card 2:00 pm central on

Conor McGregor is a character with unbridled charisma and bravado, and seldom if ever has there been a UFC fighter who has elevated his profile so highly in such a short period of time.

Listen to my conversation with Conor McGregor, as he boasts that he will own the UFC featherweight title by year’s end:

(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

With just two fights under his belt in the organization, McGregor made his UFC debut in April of 2013 by knocking out Marcus Brimage. Four months later he took a unanimous decision over young prospect Max Holloway. Just as he was poised to be potentially matched up against a top ten opponent, an ACL tear resulted in 10 months of inactivity.

Now back from injury, it would seem that the delay in gratification has caused Ireland to grow even more eager to see their native son fight in his home country. Coming into the organization with 11 of his 12 wins coming by way of knockout, McGregor had a well earned reputation that preceded him.

Now he looks to back up his big talk with a victory over Diego Brandao, a Brazilian standout who himself was on a three fight win streak with victories in seven of his last eight fights before getting stopped by Dustin Porier at the end of last year. That fight was marred by controversy for Brandao, as he missed weight by a whopping seven pounds and, according to Porier, threatened to “stab (his opponent) in the neck” at the weigh ins.

This will mark the stiffest test of Conor McGregor’s short UFC career, and a win over Brandao likely puts him in the featherweight division’s top 10 rankings. A featherweight title shot? I would say that McGregor would still have a few fights to win before that happens, but don’t tell him that.

Follow Richard Hunter on Twitter for live tweets during the fight

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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