Love him or hate him, barring injuring Conor McGregor of the UFC will be the king of the 145 lb. division within the next two years.
He’s the most polarizing ‘hundred-forty-five pounder I can ever remember in the sport of MMA, and that statement above, about the inevitability of his owning of the UFC featherweight division, raises conflicts in so many circles, with a lot of people calling him a figment of false hype, but here’s the thing — believe the hype.
This past Saturday night, at UFC 178, McGregor stopped Dustin Poirier (becoming the first to finish Poirier with a knockout or TKO) just short of two minutes into the first round of their fight. I’m here to remind all of you that Poirier is no slouch, in that he’s a gatekeeper in the 145 lb. division with quality wins over Max Holloway, Akira Corassani, Erik Koch and Diego Brandao.
From a pure fan standpoint, I don’t see how it’s possible to not enjoy watching McGregor fight — he’s a true Irishman; he fights to the finish. He’s 12-0 since 2011, with 11 of those wins coming by the way of finishes. Most people enjoy being detractors for the sake of the natural human traits that are cynicism and skepticism. He has this calm, in-ring aura about him in that he never rushes his opponents too early with flurries of punches and kicks, and his striking is technically sound. It’s interesting to watch him grow as a fighter, even though most shortsighted MMA fans would rather verbally tear him down.
(Note: I always thought that McGregor’s first professional fight on American soil coming in Boston last August on that first UFC on Fox Sports 1 card was pretty awesome, considering he’s an Irishman. I like the Dethrone shirts he has that feature Boston Celtics colors.)
A lot of folks have him slotted for the winner of Jose Aldo/Chad Mendes 2, but I think another tuneup fight before a championship match would be the best option.
By the way, Dana White recently said that McGregor is a bigger star than Brock Lesnar or Georges St.-Pierre ever were. Obviously that’s not true, but a lot of those aforementioned shortsighted MMA fans took White’s comment to heart, rather than taking into consideration the emitter of the statement himself — Dana f’n White, who engages in nauseating hyperbole all the time, since he’s a combat sports promoter. Move along now.