29-Year-Old UFC Lightweight 20-3-0
June 14, 2018 Conor McGregor News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
McGregor briefly appeared in court Thursday morning in New York, and has another hearing scheduled for July 26, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
Little was accomplished Thursday morning, as McGregor and his legal team looked to negotiate a plea deal in relation to charges of misdemeanor assault and felony criminal mischief stemming from the April 5 incident at the Barclay's Center. Per Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com, the order of protection against McGregor with regards to the other fighters injured in the incident remains in effect. For now, McGregor's management team intends to focus on a resolution before discussing any fight plans, and expects the situation to come to a close at the July 26 court date. Despite the official statements from his team, McGregor is still rumored to meet with UFC President Dana White on Monday in Las Vegas, according to a later update from Brett Okamoto of ESPN.
Conor McGregor: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
Fantasy AnalysisMcGregor will be allowed to travel back to Ireland as part of the agreement, so for now, the saga will come to a temporary conclusion. As part of the deal, he must not be in any type of contact with Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg, who both suffered fight-cancelling injuries as a result of his antics in Thursday's post-media day events. McGregor is being charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of felony criminal mischief. Look for civil suits to follow.
Fantasy AnalysisMcGregor turned himself in to police custody late Thursday evening and now that charges have been issued, he will next be arraigned in Brooklyn Criminal Court at a time yet to be determined. In addition to the stack of civil suits the former two-division champion is likely to face, McGregor will now face criminal charges with consequences that will carry further than just his professional fighting career. Three fights on the UFC 223 card have already been cancelled as a direct result of his unannounced appearance and ensuing raucous.
Fantasy AnalysisMcGregor and his team caused a raucous at the Barclay's Center ahead of Saturday's UFC 223 event after confronting 155-pound headliner Khabib Nurmagomedov. Videos surfaced of the scene, during which multiple fighters from this weekend's card were injured. According to Helwani, Ray Borg was deemed unfit to fight after suffering corneal abrasions due to broken glass, causing his bout against Brandon Moreno to be withdrawn. Michael Chiesa, who was scheduled to square off against Anthony Pettis, was forced to back down after suffering lacerations to his face. Artem Lobov, McGregor's teammate, had his fight cancelled due to his involvement in the incident. UFC will carry on with 10 bouts on the card instead of the original 13. Multiple charges are pending for McGregor, and with him being a significant reason for the damage done to this weekend's big event, it wouldn't be surprising to see him face financial suits as well.
Fantasy AnalysisIn a chaotic scene reminiscent of what one might see at a WWE event, McGregor and his team stormed the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn on Thursday afternoon with bad intentions. McGregor's teammate, Artem Lobov, was in a confrontation with headliner Khabib Nurmagomedov earlier in the week, though few thought anything of it at the time. Lobov was also heavily involved in Thursday's confrontation, so much so that his preliminary bout against Alex Caceres has been pulled from the event. It's unclear if McGregor got what he came for, or what his exact intentions were, but videos began to surface throughout the internet of the former champion destroying property and making a scene. It's a terrible look for the UFC in advance of one of their biggest events of the year, and can't mean anything good for McGregor's fighting future. His plane will not be allowed to leave New York until a resolution is reached.
Fantasy AnalysisIt could always just be another attempt to keep the buzz surrounding McGregor alive, but with his old belt on the line, McGregor's name naturally comes up in conversation. Khabib Nurmagomedov and Max Holloway are set to square off for the 155-pound title at UFC 223 on Saturday, and the winner would naturally be in line to face McGregor next, provided McGregor is willing to fight. The former two-division champion is now without a belt, having not competed under the UFC banner since his Nov. 2016 victory over Eddie Alvarez. If Holloway is able to pull off the upset Saturday, he would be just the second fighter -- and first since McGregor -- to simultaneously hold two belts.
Fantasy AnalysisThough it had previously been in question, McGregor seems intent on stepping into the Octagon once more, opening his post with "I am fighting again. Period." On top of his expressed determination to fight again, McGregor's post brings forth several other interesting points. First, a return to featherweight (145 pounds) still seems to be on the table, even though he last competed in the UFC in the lightweight (155 pounds) division. Furthermore, he seems willing and able to step in and save a card on short notice, which opens the door for countless possibilities in his UFC future. Even though UFC President Dana White once admitted he's not sure if McGregor would ever fight again, it appears the former two-division champion is intent on giving the promotion the injection of life it sorely needs with a new TV renewal deal on the horizon. Not surprisingly, ESPN's Bretty Okamoto reported that Edgar's camp strongly refuted McGregor's claim, though it's also a possibility that talks never advanced enough to even present the idea to Edgar's management team. In the end, the primary takeaway here is that fight fans likely have not seen the last of McGregor in the UFC Octagon.
Fantasy AnalysisMcGregor banked upwards of $100 million for his August superfight against Floyd Mayweather, and barring an event that awards him an ownership stake in the company, he will never come close to a payday like that if he fights again in the UFC Octagon. The Irishman technically remains the UFC Lightweight Champion, but he hasn't competed since his Nov. 2016 victory against Eddie Alvarez where he won the belt. Rumors of the UFC attempting to make a fight against interim champion Tony Ferguson on Dec. 30 have surfaced, but White snuffed those out Tuesday, saying "he's just not ready" (the promotion will instead move forward with a featherweight title fight between Cris Cyborg and Holly Holm as the main event). The two sides are working on a new deal as well, but like coach John Kavanagh stated back in September, it doesn't appear McGregor will be competing in 2017.
Fantasy AnalysisMcGregor is coming off the biggest payday of his career, so it's more than understandable to see him take some time off before getting back into the prize fighting game. Kavanagh did note, however, that McGregor could just as easily change his mind on a whim. McGregor's camp appears to be leaning towards a trilogy fight with Nate Diaz at this time, though Diaz does have compensation demands that UFC brass will need to sort out. In the meantime, Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee are currently scheduled to fight for the interim championship in the lightweight division -- the weight class where McGregor currently holds the title belt. Though facing the winner of that matchup has less potential earnings appeal, it's one of many options for McGregor in 2018. He's earned the right to be picky at this point.
Fantasy AnalysisMcGregor came out aggressive early, and likely won at least three of the first four rounds. He was able to hang tough into the later frames, but the undefeated Floyd Mayweather proved to be just too much. The tides turned in Round 8, when McGregor's fading cardio started to become apparent. In Round 10, Mayweather was the clear aggressor, and was ultimately able to end the fight. McGregor was only able to survive so long, and multiple power shots forced referee Robert Byrd to step in and call it a contest. Despite the loss, McGregor was able to hang tough with one of the greatest boxers of all time -- and even win a few rounds along the way. It certainly isn't a loss for the UFC as a sport, and McGregor will remain the promotion's biggest draw for years to come.
Fantasy AnalysisUnder typical NAC regulations, which are widely supported by other athletic commissions, any boxing match in which the competitors weigh over 147 pounds requires them to use 10-ounce gloves. Since McGregor and Mayweather are boxing at 154 pounds, the commission had to get together and vote on whether to grant an exception to that rule. Just like the fight itself, what started as a challenge on social media ultimately came to fruition. The lighter glove size would seemingly result in a slight edge to McGregor, who is expected to rely on more aggression and volume striking in this fight, as opposed to Mayweather, a traditionally defensive boxer. That being said, the gloves are still twice the weight of the 4-ounce pairs used in the UFC, so the slight adjustment isn't expected to have drastic effects on the upcoming matchup. It was Mayweather that invited the idea in the first place. As of Wednesday afternoon, McGregor approximately a (+325) underdog in some sports books, though those are significantly better odds than where he opened.
Fantasy AnalysisConfirming the news is Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review Journal, while both McGregor's Twitter account and Mayweather's official account also posted announcements. What seemed like a pipe dream months ago is finally a reality. After McGregor defeated Eddie Alvarez at Madison Square Garden to win his second UFC title belt, he then shifted his sights to making this fight happen. Though UFC brass and Mayweather Promotions needed quite a bit of time to reach an agreement, the highly-anticipated matchup now has a date, time and place. Of course, this is a boxing match and not a UFC fight, so the 40-year-old Mayweather will open as a massive betting favorite. It's a sport Mayweather has made a name for himself in by being near-impossible to hit, helping him obtain a 49-0 professional record. McGregor is more than a decade younger with a distinct size advantage, but obviously won't be able to employ any leg kicks, wrestling or jiu-jitsu in the boxing ring. It may not be the most action-packed matchup, but the buildup to the August event will be unlike anything combat sports have ever seen.
Fantasy AnalysisMcGregor and Mayweather have been in discussions for quite some time, but Wednesday's announcement marks one of the first tangible steps for getting this event to happen. McGregor and White met Sunday to discuss terms, and now that they have reached an agreement, the ball appears to be in Mayweather's court. The fight remains far from a done deal, as White must still come to terms with Al Haymon and the management team of Mayweather. "I'm not saying the fight will happen," White said. "I got one side done. Now it's time to work on the other. If we can come to a deal with Haymon and Mayweather, the fight's going to happen." Early betting lines have the undefeated, 40-year-old Mayweather as the heavy favorite.
Fantasy AnalysisIt's a far cry from the ludicrous fine suggestion of $300,000 that was being thrown around at his last hearing with the Nevada Athletic Commission. With a reasonable penalty now being handed down, there should be no major roadblocks to McGregor fighting in Las Vegas again in 2017. Whether that's in the octagon or a boxing ring remains to be seen.
Fantasy AnalysisUFC President Dana White has consistently asserted that McGregor would have to give up one of his belts following his UFC 205 showdown against Eddie Alvarez, and the promotion made it official early Sunday morning. In his place, the belt will be picked up by former interim champion Jose Aldo, who earned that title following his defeat of Frankie Edgar at UFC 200 back in July. In the long run, McGregor was probably destined for the lightweight division, as his weight cut to get down to the 145-pound class had been a very tough one. The current lightweight champion has already gone on the record saying he would not book a fight until May while awaiting the birth of his first child. It was potentially defensible to see McGregor defend both titles if he remained as active as he was in 2016, but with the layoff on tap, it became time for the UFC to make a decision. The next step for McGregor remains a question mark at this point -- he could chase a trilogy fight with Nate Diaz, move up to welterweight to challenge Tyrone Woodley for a title, or defend his lightweight strap against the winner of the Tony Ferguson/Khabib Nurmagomedov fight set to take place at UFC 209 on March 4. Talks of a fight against boxer Floyd Mayweather have also been widespread, though these types of crossover events would surely take a significant amount of time to materialize.
Fantasy AnalysisIt was a flawless performance from the man who is now both the UFC Lightweight Champion and the UFC Featherweight Champion. McGregor unleashed pinpoint combinations all fight long, knocking Alvarez down on multiple occasions in Round 1 before getting the stoppage win in Round 2. Every single time Alvarez tried to push forward, Conor popped him right in the face. Eddie is one of the very best lightweights in the world, but McGregor made him look like an amateur. UFC President Dana White has stated on numerous occasions that McGregor would be forced to vacate one of his belts if he won on Saturday, and although Joe Rogan attempted to press Conor in his post-fight interview in regards to his future plans, McGregor avoided the question. It's entirely possible he doesn't even know what's coming next. One thing that isn't in question is the fact that McGregor is by far the biggest star in the history of MMA. It's one thing to talk a lot, but it's another thing entirely to back it up.
Fantasy AnalysisMcGregor is the UFC's biggest star and he deserves to headline arguably the UFC's biggest show. The fact that he is essentially holding the featherweight division hostage is ridiculous, but it's easy to see why the UFC is giving him the opportunity to hold belts in two weight classes simultaneously. Conor has more power than Alvarez, but Eddie is the far better wrestler. When you combine Alvarez's grinding style of fighting with the cardio issues that we have seen McGregor have in the past, this is going to be a difficult fight for Mystic Mac. He may very well walk out of MSG a dual champion, but he's going to have to earn it.
Fantasy AnalysisThe Nevada Athletic Commission spent over an hour deliberating McGregor's punishment before a resolution was finally reached. The state's Attorney General originally recommended a $25,000 fine and 25 hours of service (per Shaheen Al-Shatti of MMAFighting.com), but it seems the NAC wanted to make an example out of the highest-profile athlete in the sport. Despite the hit to his wallet -- McGregor did earn a reported $3 million purse for the event -- this ruling will have absolutely no bearing on his upcoming fight at UFC 205 in New York, where he currently sits as a -145 favorite.
Fantasy AnalysisThe news was confirmed by UFC President Dana White late Monday evening on Sportscenter. It's the fight fans have clamored for all along, as McGregor will headline the sport's New York debut on a card of a magnitude arguably greater than UFC 200 last July. McGregor is coming off an impressive performance in which he took a majority-decision victory to even the score with Nate Diaz at UFC 202 in August. Rather than jump into a trilogy with Diaz, the Irishman will head down to the 155-pound division, where he will attempt to take his second UFC belt. Despite previous assertions that McGregor would have to move back down to featherweight (145 pounds) or vacate his belt, White also confirmed that he would retain his current belt, despite not fighting in that weight class since last December. Furthermore, McGregor had been facing a six-month medical suspension following the last Diaz fight, but a doctor's clearance can always null that, which seems to be the case here.
Fantasy AnalysisMcGregor hobbled out of the octagon after a five-round war Saturday, and was even seen leaving the arena in crutches. Reports were rampant later that evening that he had suffered a broken foot, but McGregor later claimed that it was just his shin giving him trouble. To be exact, The Notorius One stated, "That's it, just my shin, everything else is good. My ankle was actually a bit banged up coming into the fight. We were practicing leg kicks in camp so it was a little bit swollen coming in but it's the shin." After the type of battle he endured, it wouldn't have been surprising to see McGregor take a few months off anyway, but now that time off will be mandated. He won't be cleared for contact until Oct. 5, and his minimum suspension won't expire until Oct. 20. If McGregor isn't cleared by a doctor, he could be held out of competition until Feb. 17, 2017, though that scenario is highly unlikely. Once he's ready and able to return, UFC President Dana White has stated that he will return to the featherweight division to defend his title. If McGregor wants to go in a different direction instead, he will be force to vacate that belt.
Fantasy AnalysisMcGregor clearly entered this fight with a completely different game plan. He spent the early part of the fight throwing leg kicks at Diaz and he did a ton of damage with them. They left Nate hobbling and allowed McGregor to land one knockdown in Round 1 and two in Round 2. When the bell rang for Round 3, the tide changed. McGregor slowed considerably and that allowed Diaz to seize control of the fight. Conor struggled massively throughout the middle rounds. This was the second fight in a row that McGregor gassed out badly and that remains a gigantic concern moving forward. It doesn't appear as if Conor's aggressive style is sustainable for 25 minutes. Thankfully he rebounded somewhat over the final ten minutes, at least enough to earn the judge's decision. He without a doubt landed the bigger shots on the feet of the two fighters, a fact that likely won him the fight. McGregor said after the fight that he wants to fight Diaz a third time, but this time at lightweight, but UFC President Dana White has already stated that McGregor's next fight will be in the featherweight division. If Conor has eyes on fighting anyone other than Aldo (current No.1 featherweight), he is going to have to vacate his belt. The odds of that ever happening are between slim and none. It remains highly likely the two meet within the next year. Given what we have seen from McGregor in the two Diaz fights, his main issue seems to be fading in the middle rounds. This is something that could get him into trouble against Aldo if he doesn't put him away early.
Fantasy AnalysisIt's time for The Notorious to attempt to avenge the only loss of his UFC career. McGregor fought better in his first fight against Diaz than the end result would lead you to believe, but it was far from his best effort and he has now had five months to plan his revenge. Conor is going to have a speed and power advantage and even though he will be considerably smaller than Diaz on Saturday, he is a deserved slight favorite. McGregor should be fine if he is able to keep the fight standing, but he could be looking at a second-straight loss if this fight ends up on the mat. Basically, it sets up as the same scenario as the first fight between the two
Fantasy AnalysisAs one of the biggest, most marketable athletes in the UFC in present day, McGregor has certainly earned the right to a bit of decision-making power. That being said, 170 pounds surely doesn't seem like a permanent home for McGregor. He enters Saturday's rematch against Nate Diaz with a size and reach disadvantage, but that didn't necessarily make itself apparent the last time the two squared off. The cut to 145 pounds is, without a doubt, a tough one for McGregor, so many have speculated his permanent home might be at lightweight (155 pounds). That move would certainly disappoint the likes of Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo, two featherweight opponents that have been calling his name for quite some time. When it's all said and done, it might be best for McGregor not to get too far ahead of himself, as the outcome of Saturday's headline matchup will play a major role in the direction of his fighting career moving forward.
Fantasy AnalysisThere it is. As of a couple days ago, UFC President Dana White stated that he was uncertain the rematch would ever happen, but the UFC clearly increased their monetary offer to Diaz which led to the fight being made. Conor's preference all along was a rematch against Diaz and he is going to get his wish. Of course, this fight does nothing to help settle the muddy situation in the featherweight division where McGregor is the current champion. An interim featherweight title fight between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar will take place at UFC 200 next month.
Fantasy AnalysisMcGregor and Diaz were originally supposed to have a rematch at UFC 200 on July 9, but that bout was ultimately scrapped after McGregor failed to meet his media obligations. Now, it appears the UFC is exploring all options for McGregor's next opponent, and Diaz isn't necessarily the frontrunner. Other potential options could be the winner of the Frankie Edgar-Jose Aldo fight that will take place July 9, or McGregor could fight Rafael dos Anjos -- a scheduled fight that was cancelled due to the health of dos Anjos, effectively sparking the original McGregor-Diaz matchup. Only one thing is certain -- if a proposed superfight with boxer Floyd Mayweather is ever going to happen, it will have to go through Dana White, as McGregor remains under contract with the UFC. Fans and pundits alike have been running with those rumors of late, but White made sure to set the record straight Thursday afternoon.
Fantasy AnalysisMcGregor has yet to make nice with Dana White and the UFC after failing to fulfill his media obligations for UFC 200, which ultimately led to him being pulled from the highly-anticipated card. Complicating matters was rampant speculation this week McGregor would attempt to go around his UFC contract and schedule a superfight against boxer Floyd Mayweather. The notion is quite ridiculous, as although it would likely sell record pay-per-view numbers, it's tough to imagine the UFC allowing anything like this to happen. In the wake of the recent saga, White and McGregor are left to repair their relationship, which apparently starts with the two meeting for dinner next week (per MMAFighting.com). Although nothing is set in stone for a McGregor-Diaz rematch at UFC 202 in August, when asked about it, White replied that it "sounds like a good idea to me."
Fantasy AnalysisThe strange saga continues for the UFC's biggest draw. McGregor announced his retirement via Twitter early last week, but later refuted that claim, suggesting he still planned to fight at UFC 200. He seemed to have confirmed that notion via his personal Twitter account Sunday night, but the UFC has denied the validity of that statement, as even White said it is "not true." Meanwhile, there has been rampant speculation about Jon "Bones" Jones being booked to headline UFC 200, depending on the health of prospective opponent Daniel Cormier. If those plans come to fruition, UFC brass will have a much better hand to play out the McGregor situation with, as they will no longer be dependent on the Irishman to carry the card. McGregor has openly expressed his dissatisfaction with the UFC and their required promotional responsibilities, and the fact that McGregor was not present at this week's UFC 200 press conference couldn't have rubbed Dana White the right way. McGregor clearly wants to rededicate himself to training over promotional responsibilities, but the UFC doesn't appear to be willing to budge on this, holding the featherweight champion to the same standards as other fighters.
Fantasy AnalysisThe wording here is what's key. White might it sound like after the tragic death of Joao Carvalho following a MMA fight in Dublin last week, a fight in which Conor was ringside for, that McGregor had no desire to go on a whirlwind promotional tour that had been scheduled to promote the Diaz fight. As a result, the UFC "pulled McGregor from the fight." McGregor tweeted earlier today that he has "decided to retire young.", but of course no one knows if that post was made before or after the UFC decided to pull him. White is first and foremost, a promoter, so everything he says must be taken with a grain of salt. White made it sound as if McGregor would be willing to fight as long as he didn't have to go on the road and promote the bout, but he never came right out and said it. The bottom line is that no one really knows what is going on here. All we know is that there's a risk McGregor will not compete at UFC 200.
Fantasy AnalysisAccording to MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani, multiple sources are adamant that McGregor's tweet "isn't a joke, troll job or hoax of any kind." Helwani also admits that the reason behind McGregor posting the tweet is unclear. McGregor was very shook up about the death of Joao Carvalho, who died after a TKO loss in Dublin, Ireland last week. Conor was ringside for the fight, supporting his teammate Charlie Ward, who was Carvalho's opponent. Neither the UFC nor McGregor have made any further comments regarding the situation, although McGregor's coach, John Kavanagh tweeted "Well was fun while it lasted." The entire situation is very bizarre, but it seems highly unlikely that McGregor would make light in the wake of such a serious incident. Conor has made a boat load of money, but it would still be a shock to see him step aside at such a young age and in the prime of his career. McGregor is due to face Nate Diaz in July. We will have more news on this breaking story as it becomes available.
Fantasy AnalysisFrom a pure business, money-making standpoint, this has to go down as the worst night in the history of the UFC. McGregor was in firm control of this fight, clearly taking Round 1. He also started fast in the second frame, but he ate numerous big shots , including one huge left hand, as the round wore on and he was so wobbled on the feet that McGregor decided to go for a takedown. It proved fatal. Conor ended up getting flattened out and Diaz was able to take his back and sink in the choke. McGregor tapped almost immediately. There is no doubt that McGregor isn't the ground specialist that Diaz is, but he was beaten up on the feet and that certainly played a roll in the quick finish once the fight hit the mat. Conor was gracious in defeat and he still deserves a ton of credit for his willingness to fight anyone on such short notice. The loss certainly stings from a business standpoint, but McGregor remains the UFC's featherweight champion and it seems likely that his next fight will be a title defense against Frankie Edgar. There was talk of Conor potentially vacating his 145-pound title if he defeated Diaz, but he doesn't have to worry about that now. McGregor is a huge featherweight and he would be a decent sized lightweight, but he is severely undersized for the 170-pound division. McGregor's long-term future may be at 155 pounds.
Fantasy AnalysisThe line continues to grow. Betting against McGregor these days is a bad idea, especially in a fight where he should have ample opportunity to showcase his striking skills. Although he is going to be the smaller man in the cage, McGregor cuts a massive amount of weight to make the 145-pound featherweight limit, and he should look fairly healthy on the scale on Friday night. McGregor would have had a real challenge on his hands if he had to fight current lightweight champion and originally scheduled opponent Rafael dos Anjos, but the fact that Diaz is likely to engage in a striking battle is what likely made this fight so appealing on short notice. That, and the payday. There have been no signs whatsoever leading up to this fight that Conor is in store for a letdown.
Fantasy AnalysisPer ESPN's Brett Okamoto, the two agreed to fight at 170 pounds, despite the fact this was originally intended to be a lightweight (155 pound) battle, and that McGregor currently holds his belt in the featherweight division (145 pounds). This will be a unique challenge for McGregor, who typically holds a size advantage at featherweight, but will have a slight reach disadvantage against Diaz. In his mind, McGregor can fight and defeat anyone, so Diaz will merely be a bump in the road on his quest to hold a belt in multiple divisions. If all goes according to plan for the UFC, McGregor would have a chance to face his originally-scheduled opponent, Rafael dos Anjos, for the lightweight strap at UFC 200.
Fantasy AnalysisMcGregor is no stranger to this situation, as a nearly-identical scenario unfolded prior to the originally-scheduled bout against Jose Aldo, who eventually had to withdraw due to injury. In that instance, the UFC called upon Chad Mendes to replace Aldo on short notice, and the promotion will likely try to resolve this dilemma in a similar manner. Although the news just broke, management teams from Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone have reached out to the UFC about potentially stepping in as a replacement. Nate Diaz is another name floating around, as is Frankie Edgar (although he is currently injured). Whatever the case, McGregor is the biggest draw in the promotion at this time, so the UFC and president Dana White will likely exhaust all resources to ensure a quality card at UFC 196, scheduled for March 5.
Fantasy AnalysisMcGregor will try to become the first UFC fighter to hold two belts at the same time. Conor made it very clear that if he was to fight for the lightweight title that he refused to vacate his featherweight crown and he appears to have gotten his wish. It's scary to imagine, but considering all the weight that he has to cut to reach the 145-pound featherweight limit, it's entirely possible that McGregor might be more effective in a higher weight class. McGregor is currently a slight +100 underdog for the bout.
Fantasy AnalysisDos Anjos currently holds the lightweight title, which is what McGregor wants. The last fighter to attempt a similar feat to McGregor was B.J. Penn in 2009 when he moved up to the welterweight division to challenge Georges St-Pierre.
Fantasy AnalysisEven if you watch MMA for the remainder of your life, you will never see anything like it again. The first punch, a left hook, that McGregor threw cracked Aldo right in the jaw and he was immediately finished. Referee John McCarthy couldn't get in there fast enough to stop the fight. Aldo's eyes rolled back and the lights went out. McGregor looked like death yesterday at the weigh-in, but he looked extremely loose and healthy during the introductions, while Aldo looked tight and nervous. The fight ended so quickly that there is really nothing to break down. We never got to see McGregor's defense against Aldo's ground game. If the win isn't enough, McGregor will now join Ronda Rousey on the cover of the UFC's next video game in the spring. UFC President Dana White said yesterday that Frankie Edgar will get the next shot at the UFC title, but Conor has stated in the past that he planned to move up to lightweight if he won the belt tonight. Edgar seems like a poor matchup for McGregor because he is a guy who can match his speed, footwork and quickness, but Conor has already done numerous things that few people believed he could do. It is going to go down as one of, if not the greatest performance in a UFC title fight in the company's history.
Fantasy AnalysisThe months of trash-talk will finally materialize in the form of a must-see title fight in Saturday's main event. While McGregor's defeat of Chad Mendes, a short-notice opponent, was an impressive coup at UFC 189, a win over Aldo would solidify "The Notorious" as the sole possessor of the UFC Featherweight Championship belt.
Fantasy AnalysisSpecifically, the always-confident McGregor stated that "I feel like it's almost set in stone -- KO Jose and KO whoever holds that lightweight belt." Of course, this means coming through and defeating Aldo in the upcoming featherweight matchup, which will almost certainly be no easy task. Aldo is undefeated in his UFC career, but hasn't seen the octagon for more than one calendar year. Looking ahead, McGregor is a big fighter for the featherweight class, and typically endures a heavy weight cut, so a transition to lightweight is certainly within the realm of possibility. If McGregor is true to his word and knocks out Jose Aldo, the next logical step would be to schedule a fight against the winner of the Rafael dos Anjos/Donald Cerrone bout that is set to take place one week after UFC 194. Of course, if the interim featherweight champion is handed a loss next Saturday, those plans would quickly be derailed.
Fantasy AnalysisMcGregor is coming off an impressive win over Chad Mendes in UFC 189 nearly a month ago and will now look to retain his status as the interim UFC Featherweight Champion after the upcoming headliner this December. The Irishman hasn't lost since 2010 and he'll enter the bout with Aldo having registered a TKO in his previous four fights.
Fantasy AnalysisWhile Kavanagh didn't go into details about the injury, he acknowledged that McGregor was fully healed roughly two weeks before the fight. He also stated that when he approached McGregor about potentially dropping out of the bout, the interim UFC featherweight champion refused to even consider the idea. The injury doesn't appear to be an issue moving forward.
Fantasy AnalysisConsidering McGregor was complaining about all his media engagements after his victory last night, it seems a bit surprising that he agreed to this. That being said, it keeps him on television while Jose Aldo rehabs and it will be good for ratings. McGregor and Faber will NOT be fighting after the show is completed. McGregor will still be shelved until Aldo is ready to return from his rib injury.
Fantasy AnalysisThat will put an end to the talk that McGregor can't beat an elite wrestler. There's no doubt that his takedown defense needs work, but it's not a stretch to say that McGregor is one of the best pure strikers in all of MMA. Also keep in mind that Mendes is one of the best wrestlers in the world. McGregor absolutely destroyed Mendes on the feet. McGregor spent a lot of time on his back eating big elbows from Mendes, but he managed to work his way back to his feet. The finish came when a huge flurry from Conor forced Mendes back against the fence and referee Herb Dean stepped in to call off the bout. As we all know, McGregor talks a big game, but he legitimately has the skills to back it up. A lot of the stuff he says and does is over the top, but the guy gets the job done when he gets in the octagon. His unification bout against Jose Aldo is going to be the biggest fight in UFC history.
Fantasy AnalysisWhen it was first announced that Mendes would be replacing Jose Aldo, Mendes opened as the favorite, but that changed very quickly. McGregor claims that he doesn't care who he faces, but Mendes figures to be a tougher challenge for him than Aldo would of been. Mendes' strength is his wrestling and McGregor's wrestling is largely unproven in the UFC. McGregor certainly has a decent chance of winning this fight, but he has to try to keep the bout on the feet. He can't be grappling with Mendes for 25 minutes.
Fantasy AnalysisAnd just like that, the UFC's biggest bout of the year has fallen apart. Most people saw this coming, but that doesn't make it any easier to swallow. McGregor was sitting next to White when he made the announcement and he didn't seem pleased about it at all. To his credit, he said it's business as usual and he plans to knockout Mendes within the first four minutes. Oddly enough, McGregor had risen to a -150 favorite if the Aldo fight had taken place, and he's a +110 underdog against Mendes. That's because McGregor's wrestling is largely unproven and that's the strength of Mendes' game. It should still be a terrific fight, but the UFC wasted an awful lot of money promoting the original main event.
Fantasy AnalysisEarlier in the week, it was reported that Aldo suffered a broken rib during training, which likely would have forced him to withdraw from the event. However, scans Wednesday came back clean, and the bout is still on at this point. If Aldo suffers a setback for any reason and is unable to fight, McGregor would take on Chad Mendes for the interim belt instead.