LAS VEGAS -- "Conor's not here yet. He'll be here in a minute."
That's how the most significant media conference of the UFC's 2016 schedule began on Wednesday, inside the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino.
UFC president Dana White strolled on stage, along with lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, female bantamweight champion Holly Holm and title challenger Miesha Tate. Featherweight king Conor McGregor, the man of the hour, who will move up in weight and challenge Dos Anjos for the lightweight crown at UFC 197 on March 5, was noticeably absent.
When he did finally arrive, McGregor dismissed the notion his tardiness was by design.
"I apologize for my time keeping," McGregor said. "I do not wear watches to tell the time. I operate on my own time."
In addition to time, McGregor, 27, is operating under his own set of rules. There is currently no one else like him in the game, including female superstar Ronda Rousey.
Should he defeat Dos Anjos (25-7) in March, McGregor would become the first fighter in UFC history to simultaneously hold belts in two weight classes. Obviously, it takes a special talent to accomplish such a feat. It also takes permission from the promotion itself. From the UFC's perspective, one champion tying up two championship belts is potentially bad for business. But McGregor has been green lit to try.
And within three minutes of his arrival at Wednesday's media conference, McGregor said even two UFC titles might not satisfy his appetite.
"I'm an active champion," McGregor said. "I will fight in many weight divisions. As it grows and as all of this forms, I like the sound of that [welterweight] title as well. I feel I can take down three gold belts and I feel I can do it by year's end."
McGregor (19-2) criticized the UFC's art department for its banner design, which featured Dos Anjos' face in the foreground instead of his. He commented on Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s recent comments about race and at one point, almost proudly, said his colorful wardrobe selection made him look like Mexican drug lord "El Chapo in his prime."
Dos Anjos didn't get much of a word in. McGregor wouldn't let him. At one point, a frustrated Dos Anjos said, "My next question, you guys can make for him. He's answering for me."
And that, unfortunately, is something Dos Anjos will have to get used to and get over very quickly. Luckily for him, the UFC is not planning a multi-continent promotional tour, as it did with McGregor's previous fight against Jose Aldo. Aldo, although he refuses to admit it, appeared to suffer from exhaustive promotional duties with McGregor. He ultimately lost to McGregor at UFC 194 in a 13-second knockout.
"I do think Aldo rushed a little bit," Dos Anjos said. "He has a lot of experience but he rushed in the beginning of the fight. Maybe he let emotions come out."
Although the Irishman has shown respect to opponents once a fight is finished, he has drowned each of them in personal trash talk prior to it. In Dos Anjos' case, McGregor has zeroed in on the Brazilian's decision to emigrate to the U.S. in 2012. He has called Dos Anjos a "traitor" for the move and predicted after he knocks him out, the country will hold a parade.
Whether he makes good on another promise will be seen on March 5. But as for now, one thing is clear: McGregor is not going to stop talking until someone forces him to.
"I am in a league of my own," McGregor said. "The game must hold seminars every weekend to pay for their training costs and I'm out here riding around California in a car that spits fire, dressed like El Chapo with anacondas on my feet.
"I am finding it hard to even engage with anyone in the game because they are not on my level. Not one single individual in this company is on my level."