Editorials MMA

The Crowning of a Notorious King

“This fight needs no introduction, you don’t even need to sell this fight. This is a big, big fight and it sells itself.”

Leading up to UFC 189 on July 11th, 2015, Conor McGregor & Jose Aldo were bitter rivals. These men badly wanted to rip each others heads off and you could tell by the way they bickered back and forth. Though Conor is more of the talkative one, Aldo wasn’t shy to throw a few jabs at his opponent to make this one of the most anticipated fights in UFC history. But, before I dive right into the fight and the build up. Let’s start from the beginning.

UFC Fight Night 59

January 18, 2015

At UFC Fight Night 59, Conor McGregor had one of his toughest challenges yet. A veteran by the name of Dennis Siver. Before the fight even started, the young and cocky Conor McGregor would go for what looked to be a hand shake. But, when Siver went to extend his hand, Conor shot him the middle finger. It was on. Unsuspectingly, the fight didn’t go how many people thought it would. Conor McGregor dominated Denis Siver for a whole round until finally finishing him by TKO, with 3:05 on the clock in Round 2. Ending the fight without a scratch, Conor had no time to celebrate. He jumped over the octagon cage, ran into the crowd, and went face to face with the UFC Featherweight Champion, Jose Aldo. Conor screamed in the face of Aldo, who laughed in his face before Conor was pulled back to the octagon.

“I’m gonna hand him my spit bucket, tell him to take it back and spit shine that belt; then bring it back here, ready for me to take it.” -McGregor post-fight

After a few months of build up, a huge world tour for press, and training between the champion and challenger, some bad news broke. UFC president Dana White and number one contender Conor McGregor went live on SportsCenter to explain to the world that Jose Aldo suffered a rib injury in training and will not be able to fight at UFC 189. Bad news for both Conor, and the fans. But, Conor McGregor wasn’t going into UFC 189 without a fight. Dana now matched up McGregor with the next contender in line Chad Mendes for the UFC Featherweight Interim Championship.

Though Jose Aldo was injured, Conor didn’t believe that. Conor McGregor truly believed that Jose was scared for his life. Rightfully so.

“He has a few scrambles in him, then he will break. I’m going to pick him apart.” -Conor McGregor on Chad Mendes

No matter who the opponent is, Conor McGregor makes it interesting. He had mouth battles with Chad whenever he did press. Chad Mendes isn’t like Jose Aldo. He isn’t quiet and doesn’t back down to McGregor’s comments. So, having Chad Mendes and Conor both talking trash to each other really brought eyes to this fight. The build up was fantastic. Neither man backed down, and neither man believed they would lose. Conor said he would destroy Chad with his reach advantage, and Chad said he would destroy Conor with his ground game. Two totally different styles clashing in the octagon made for one hell of a fight on paper. The only thing now was to find out who was the better man when they stepped into the cage on July 11, 2015.

“My coach came in, maybe 1 PM, I was still asleep and he came into the room, woke me up and said “hey Conor, it looks like Jose’s out; now it’ll be Mendes.” I opened one eye, I said they are all the same, I closed my eyes and went back to sleep.”

One day before the fight, both men made weight, and had one hell of a stare down. Chad Mendes even showed a new side of himself. Normally a gentleman, and respectful; he now was right in Conor’s face and amped up, ready to fight. The hype that these two created for a fight in a short amount of time was incredible. With one thing left to do, both men headed into UFC 189 more confident than ever.

Once the time finally came, there was no turning back for either man. The fight began, and one hell of a fight it was. Lasting only two rounds, Chad Mendes did what he said he was going to do, and dominated Conor on the ground. McGregor was cut opened and bleeding above the eye, while Chad was fine at the end of the first. Conor was taken down again at the start of the second. Again, dominating McGregor on the ground, Chad went for a submission attempt that was reversed, bringing both fighters back to their feet. A few short moments later; Conor McGregor finished the fight via TKO and won the Interim UFC Featherweight Championship in the second round.

“It all overwhelmed me and I came to tears. It has been one hell of a ride. Just over two years I’ve been here, I’ve already broke every record in the game. It does not come easy.”

Now the interim featherweight champion, Conor McGregor would have to sit and wait. He’d wait for Jose Aldo to get healthy. He’d wait for his championship match to be made. But finally the wait was over. We got a date. December 12, 2015. UFC 194. Conor McGregor challenges Jose Aldo for the featherweight championship. Six plus months in the making and the fight is finally going to happen. As we got before, the entertaining Conor McGregor came out and opened up about the fact that he thought he was the real champion. He thought Jose was a paper champion and he earned the featherweight gold when he defeated Mendes. Now, of course Jose Aldo would say the exact opposite. Jose believed Conor was a paper champion. Many fans backed their favorite fighter, whether it be McGregor, or Aldo, fans believed their guy was the real champion. No one is wrong, though. Conor McGregor is no paper champion. Though he doesn’t have the real Featherweight Championship, he did fight a brutal battle against Chad Mendes to become the Interim Champion. Jose Also is also no paper champion. He’s the only Featherweight Champion, and has been for over 10 years. Both men deserve the championships they have, but fans would still carry on about who’s the true champion.

“I see him crumbling towards the end of the first, or not answering the bell for the second. But, it’ll be wrapped up inside 1.” -Conor McGregor on ending Jose Aldo

Known for his crazy antics and comments, people looked forward to see how Conor would act at the UFC 194 press conference, but, people were surprised to see that we didn’t get the usual crazy Conor we know and love. Instead, he was in what he called a “State Of Zen”. He was completely calm, didn’t start anything controversial, didn’t have too much bad things to say about Jose other than him saying he would beat him. He said what he needed to say, he took the press conference picture, and calmly left. This new side of Conor was different to see, especially for people who didn’t believe he could be calm.

One day before the fight, both fighters weighed in, both hitting the needed weight target. Conor seemed calm until he came face to face with Jose Aldo. They had a very intense stare down that even lead to Conor McGregor teasing a kick that, of course, he didn’t fully throw. But, both men were now fired up, the fans were fired up, hell, I was fired the hell up! A long fight week was in-tact, having fights and shows Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, with Saturday being UFC 194. Finally, after months and months of build up, the fight we’ve all been waiting for finally takes place.

“The first thing I said to him was, “Wow, I didn’t think I’d see you again” so, I was actually happy to see him. I shook his hand, I embraced him, I gave him a little cuddle, and I told him “Everything’s gonna be A’ok, it will be over before you know it, just please show up December 12th. I don’t want to scare him anymore, he’s petrified.” -Conor McGregor on seeing Jose Aldo for the first time after UFC 189

The day was finally here. December 12, 2015. My excitement levels were through the roof, as well as many other fans. We all waited months for this fight. We’ve waited since Fight Night 59 for this and now we get to see what could be the biggest fight in UFC history. As a fan, I sat and watched both Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor make their ways to the octagon. Playing out many different ways this fight could go in my head: Maybe by KO from either man, second round KO for Jose, first round KO for McGregor, maybe something crazy happens and we get a submission finish. The many ways this fight could go were running through my head at a fast pace. But, I never thought that 13 seconds into the fight, it would be all over. Build up, on top of build up, on top of build up. So much hype going into this fight, and “The Notorious” Conor McGregor knocks Jose Aldo out with a clean left hook, 13 seconds into the very first round. I was completely shocked as was everyone else. I don’t think there was a person watching UFC 194 that believed it could go down like that. The new Featherweight Champion, Conor McGregor. Jose Aldo’s 10 year undefeated streak is over.

Haters always say he’s all talk and no show, but after proving it time and time again, now becoming the Featherweight Champion, ending the 10 year championship reign of Jose Aldo in 13 seconds, there is no doubt that Conor McGregor is the ‘King’ of the fight game.

“They say I’m just talk, but here I am walking.”

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