In the main event of Saturday night’s star-studded UFC 205 at New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden, Conor McGregor made it impossible for fight fans to deny his greatness after knocking-out Eddie Alvarez in the second frame of their five-round affair to win the promotion’s lightweight title and become the first in UFC history to simultaneously hold two championship belts.
Now both the UFC featherweight and UFC lightweight champion, McGregor solidified his status as the sport’s current king with what was arguably one of the most impressive performances of his UFC career. But now that he’s done what many said he never could by claiming the 155-pound crown in his UFC lightweight debut, the irrepressible Irishman deserves to be recognized as one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all-time.
Before making Alvarez look like a confused contestant on ”The Ultimate Fighter” who suddenly realized that he should’ve stuck with softball, the 13-second destruction of the once-invincible Jose Aldo at last December’s UFC 194 that made McGregor the featherweight king also forced his most outspoken critics to acknowledge the fact that the term ”special” didn’t even begin to accurately describe the proud product of Dublin.
Dominant victories over featherweight contenders such as Max Holloway, Denis Siver, Dustin Poirier, and former interim featherweight champion Chad Mendes, gave McGregor every right to demand a shot at Aldo. And when compared to what fellow Octagon legends like Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre, Ronda Rousey, Randy Couture, Jon Jones, and the versatile B.J. Penn accomplished within the first ten fights of their illustrious UFC careers, McGregor may be in a class of his own.
Because the promotion has continued to grow beyond even the most unrealistic expectations, and the ascensions of those Octagon greats were controlled by the rate of that growth, it’s tough to compare any of them to McGregor and what he’s accomplished thus far.
For example, all seven of Rousey’s UFC fights have been for the UFC women’s bantamweight belt. As a former Strikeforce champion, she was the obvious favorite to reign over a brand new division that desperately needed a few years to develop into the action-packed weight class that it’s become in the last 11 months, and Couture—who fought for a title in eight of his first 10 UFC bouts for a promotion that looks nothing like it does today, is the only one who experienced something similar to Rowdy Ronda early on in his UFC career.
As we saw when Nate Diaz did the unthinkable by submitting McGregor in March, wins and losses aren’t the only way to define greatness in today’s UFC, and much like the late Muhammad Ali–and yes, McGregor deserves that comparison, the promotion’s dual-division king has taken advantage of every single opportunity outside of the Octagon to promote himself and his unapologetic approach to conquering the world.
Whether he’s correctly predicting the exact outcome of several of his own fights, setting pay-per-view records, or turning pre-fight hype into a spectator sport, McGregor has refused to follow in the footsteps of those who’ve come before him. He’s not worried about offending other fighters, he doesn’t care if you laughed at the white mink coat he wore to last week’s weigh-ins, and he doesn’t care if you only bought the UFC 205 pay-per-view to see him lose.
With only 10 UFC bouts under his belt, there’s no way to know if McGregor will earn more UFC victories than greats like Silva, Couture, Jones, St. Pierre, and Penn. Assuming Jones returns after his suspension, he still has time to rack-up wins and finish his UFC career as the greatest light heavyweight of all-time, and even after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs and earning a suspension of his own, Silva is still widely regarded as the best fighter that the sport has ever seen.
Yet, despite their domination in the Octagon, none of those legends, not even Rousey, possessed the intangible quality that’s made McGregor the must-see, multi-millionaire and face of MMA that he is today. And whether you’re one of his many supporters, a proud McGregor-hater, or just an entertained spectator, we’re all witnessing a new brand of greatness every time the Irishman enters the Octagon.
Surveillance Video Shows Conor McGregor Smash Phone
In a new video released by TMZ Sports, UFC star is shown knocking a phone down and smashing it in front of the Fountainebleau hotel located in Miami, Florida.
In true McGregor fashion, he followed up the destruction of the phone by doing his famous “billionaire strut.”
McGregor got into an altercation with Ahmed Abdirzak who was following and filming McGregor with his cell phone while McGregor and his entourage were leaving the hotel.
McGregor reportedly extended his hand to offer a hand shake, only to pull it back and smack the phone out of Abdirzak’s hand and proceeding to stomp on it.
After a few stomps, McGregor picks up the phone and walks away. He was later arrested, that same day, and has been charged with felony robbery and misdemeanor criminal mischief, which could land him in prison for up to 6 years.
McGregor has pled not guilty on all charges and is scheduled for trial beginning in May.
Abdirzak filed a lawsuit against McGregor stemming from the incident, but dropped his suit after the two sides worked out a settlement.
Abdirzak was reportedly demanding north of $15,000.
INTERVIEW: John Kavanagh Talks Brave CF 13 in Belfast, Frans Mlambo’s Title Fight and SBG Ireland
Renowned head coach of SBG Ireland, John Kavanagh has helped put Irish MMA on the map. With his star student and multiple time UFC champion, Conor McGregor taking over the MMA world, the two have opened up unlimited doors for the rest of the team.
Today, Kavanagh is leading some of the younger generation to world title fights and global organisations. On June 9th, one of his promising young fighters, Frans Mlambo will get a shot at gold when he takes on Stephen Loman for the Brave Combat Federation bantamweight title.
The two met back in the promotion’s first ever show in Bahrain when Loman picked up a unanimous decision win over Mlambo. It was a learning experience for the young South African who has picked up 3 straight finishes since. Kavanagh is confident that the former IMMAF world champion, Mlambo has all the tools to become champion.
Also competing on the Brave CF 13 card from SBG Ireland, is Cian Cowley (0-1) who takes on Daniel Olejniczak (2-1-1) and Tommy Martin (6-4) who takes on Wales’ Aidan James (1-0).
I spoke to John Kavanagh on the upcoming Brave CF 13 show, Mlambo’s improvements and the team’s preparation for their upcoming bouts. Check out the interview below.
Farah Hannoun: Brave Combat Federation are making their first trip to Europe, you’ve witnessed the organization’s growth so how excited are you to see them go to Belfast?
John Kavanagh: Brave is fast becoming one of the world’s biggest MMA shows so it’s of course great to have them visit Ireland. However, I would have preferred Dublin because that’s my hometown.
Farah Hannoun: Frans Mlambo is headlining the event, with a record of 5-2, he’s practically grown up in the cage, how proud are to see him turn things around with 3 straight finishes since losing to Loman the first time?
John Kavanagh: He’s earned that title shot with exciting finishes both by submission and KO. He’s finding his way in the cage nicely now.
Farah Hannoun: What adjustments has Mlambo made since the first fight with Loman? What do you feel like went wrong the first-time round?
John Kavanagh: His grappling was too weak back then. He’s one of the best strikers I’ve ever seen and now his grappling is catching up. Frans is one of the top 135lb fighters in the world.
Farah Hannoun: Cian Cowley is set to make the walk for the second time in his pro career when he takes on Daniel Olejniczak, in light of the legal issues he’s had the misfortune of dealing with, how hard was it for him to put all that aside and focus on the fight?
John Kavanagh: Cian is very mature and focused. It’s not a problem for him to block out what’s going on outside.
Farah Hannoun: Also competing from SBG, is Tommy Martin who’s looking to bounce back when he takes on Aidan James, how’s he been looking at the gym and what can we expect from him?
John Kavanagh: Tommy is a technician. Clean striking, one of best doubles on my team and tidy on the ground. His opponent is similar, solid technician. This fight will be very interesting for those who like nice technique.
Farah Hannoun: You’ve played a massive role in the growth of Irish MMA, SBG and Conor McGregor. The impact that you and Conor have had has resulted in a lot of opportunities and a spotlight on the guys at the gym. Does the idea that people have the perception that the SBG guys get “special treatment” or extra opportunities bother you?
John Kavanagh: No, we’ve earned it 😉
Farah Hannoun: You must be really proud, bringing up a talent such as Frans from his IMMAF world champion days to now him getting a title shot at Brave CF, what are your thoughts on Frans as an individual and a fighter?
John Kavanagh: One of few 135lbs in the world with genuine 1 punch KO power. A very good singer and cook too!
Farah Hannoun: You wrote a mega successful book, Win or Learn, which is even a quote that people have been using a lot when competing in MMA. Your best-selling book was even translated to multiple languages and sold internationally which is incredible. Did you expect the book to be so successful when writing it and do you have plans on writing another one someday?
John Kavanagh: No, I thought maybe my mother would buy a few copies and that’d be it haha. I believe almost 50,000 sold worldwide and talk of a movie adaptation. It’s crazy. Maybe one more book when I’m retired.
After his impressive finish over Niko Price at UFC Sao Paulo, Vicente Luque eyeing Darren Till
When Luan Chagas was forced out of his fight versus Niko Price at UFC Sao Paulo, The UFC called Vicente Luque and he happily accepted.
He stepped in on short notice and took out one of the toughest surging welterweights in Niko Price.
He hurt Price with a counter right before locking in one of his favourite submissions, the D’arce choke. This marked Luque’s 5th win in 6 UFC outings making him one of the brightest young stars in the division.
“I wanted to go out there and have an impressive fight,” Luque said.
“I thought that was very important especially that I was coming off a 4 fight win streak then I had a loss so I wanted to keep that momentum. I think I did that and it definitely puts me back where I was before going after those top 15 guys.”
He now turns his attention to a fellow rising star, Darren Till. Till took out Cowboy Cerrone in the first round last month in Gdansk and Luque feels he would match up well with him.
“I would really like to fight Darren Till,” Luque said. “He’s a great striker and his last fight was really impressive against Cowboy. I’m a striker as well and I would love to test my striking and see who the best striker in the division is.”
And should the UFC decide to go a different direction, Luque would be content fighting anyone in the top 15. With 5 wins and 5 finishes in the division, he feels he’s earned a high ranked opponent or a big name.
“I want a top 15 opponent for sure but if they don’t give me that I’ll be looking for someone with a big name,” Luque said. “Guys like Alan Jouban who already have a name and everybody knows who they are. Those are the guys that I want to be fighting.”
Another name Luque is interested in is Colby Covington who fought on the same card as him. Covington took out former title challenger Demian Maia and proceeded to cut a heavy promo, blasting the Brazilian crowd.
Covington’s harsh and controversial comments towards Brazil didn’t sit well for Luque who sees multiple benefits of fighting him.
“I definitely think that was disrespectful not only to Brazilians but to anybody that watches MMA,” Luque said. “I don’t think that’s the posture of an athlete. I don’t take it personally but I would love to fight him no matter what whether he was disrespectful or not because he’s a top contender.”
The welterweight division is arguably the most talked about division. With rising stars such as Darren Till, Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington and Mike Perry, Luque feels like his name should be thrown in the mix too.
“I think I’m getting up there and slowly getting my spot. I’m having good fights and I know what I’m capable of and that’s what I’m trying to show. I’m doing my thing and I feel that my fights speak for themselves.”
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