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Is Conor McGregor The Next Featherweight Champion In The Making?
Conor McGregor is on fire at the minute, riding a ten fight win streak and fighting for the biggest MMA show in the world. A lot of people have been talking about him, and he rode the Orient Express of hype in the lead up to his UFC FN 26 bout. The fight, in which he fought Max Holloway, marked the first time that the Irish Phenom has ever seen a judge’s scorecard.
His knockout win against Marcus Brimage was testament to the raw talent that C Mac (?) possesses. Looking to MMA greats such as Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, Jose Aldo, and Cain Velasquez leads me to wonder if we are seeing the birth of the next MMA superstar.
With the recent emergence of Chris Weidman as a dominant talent, it really can seem to happen out of the blue. The MMA world moves very quickly, and fighters who were once considered unbeatable become ousted from their top spot in the blink of an eye.
A long tenure as the world number one is a rare sight in MMA, mainly due to the incredibly short shelf life of a professional fighter. The sport really takes it’s toll and fighters noticeably get slower or more vulnerable in a very short time span.
With McGregor tearing it up at Featherweight, and Jose Aldo becoming more injury prone and considering going to 155; could we be seeing the rise of the next 145lb. kingpin?
Truthfully, I think we just might be. First and foremost he is an animal in the cage, secondly he is very marketable for the UFC, and thirdly he has time on his side. At the age of 25, McGregor has compiled a 14-2 record over a five-year career.
In reference to my second point, C Mac has an entire country behind him, which makes him a huge sell for the UFC (who are yet to properly break in to the sports market over here). His cage savvy and skills are natural, unforced and he has that killer instinct.
I also think that Aldo’s decline as a champion has already begun(at least at 145). He has started to show cracks, only ever so slightly, physically in the cage. Injuries are becoming more commonplace for the long time FW boss, and his cardio has been suspect for a while now. All the above are likely down to his savage weight cuts, which he needs to stop. I think it makes sense for Aldo to move up.
I’m not saying that McGregor could beat Aldo or Edgar or any of the top five in a fight now, but by the time C Mac can build up some good wins; Aldo will have been fighting for 10+ years as a pro. He may have retired or moved up, and suddenly it is no longer a one horse race at FW. It’s all about the timing. Conor can build a good head of steam if he can continue his streak and, in a sport so fickle, he could well be a P4P great by then.
I don’t know, maybe seeing Anderson Silva knocked out has brought out the realist side of me.