It was probably hard to tell on Saturday night that when Conor McGregor walked out for his fight against Max Holloway at UFC Fight Night 26 that he was neither in the main event nor even from the city of Boston, where the event was being held.
Judging by the ovation he received from the crowd, McGregor was treated like a headliner who had the entire city behind him with every punch he threw and takedown he landed.
It doesn't hurt of course that Boston boasts the largest percentage of Irish population in the country, so when Ireland's own McGregor hit the Octagon, he was received like it was his homecoming.
Three rounds and 15 minutes later, McGregor stood proud as the winner with an Irish flag draped over his shoulders and an entire city living and breathing with his every word.
After the fights were over, as McGregor sat with sunglasses and a hat on while wearing a stylish bow tie at the post-fight press conference, he once again became the center of attention with his brash and candid responses to every question asked.
The hype and attention surrounding McGregor is only growing, and with his UFC record now sitting at 2-0 it's onward and upward to even bigger and better things.
One place McGregor will assuredly land in 2014 is for a home show when the UFC finally returns to Ireland next year. UFC president Dana White confirmed on Saturday night that the promotion would return to Ireland in the third quarter of 2014, which would mark the first UFC show there since UFC 93 landed there in January 2009.
With a new TV deal in place to broadcast in Ireland, the UFC has been talking about returning to the Emerald Isle for some time now, and it seems the Irish fans will finally get a show next year.
McGregor's place on the card is as close to a guarantee as anything the UFC could promise this far in advance, but how far up the card could he be promoted?
While the hype around McGregor is at a fevered pitch right now, he's still only 2-0 in the UFC with both of his fights taking place on the preliminary portion of the card. Those factors don't matter when it comes to McGregor's popularity in Ireland, but they do make a difference in other parts of the world where they have to broadcast the show.
"He could headline, are you kidding me? If he headlined a card in Dublin it would be insane," White said about McGregor. "He's not ready to headline. He's 2-0 he's headlining the card! It would be great in Ireland, it wouldn't be so great everywhere else. He could headline in Ireland."
Before McGregor tries to prove White wrong by winning his next couple of fights before returning to a UFC card in Ireland, he first has to get his knee checked out after suffering an injury to it on Saturday night.
McGregor stated that during the bout against Holloway he heard a pop in his knee, and it forced him to abandon his striking game and work for the takedown instead.
White said after the fights that they would fly McGregor out to Las Vegas to visit with their doctor to have him checked out, and hopefully the injuries are nothing too severe.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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