He’s brash, talks a fantastic game, and has thus far been able to back up all the talk with some serious beatings, which means Irish superstar Conor McGregor will likely get a title shot soon against the winner of Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes (which will be Aldo of course). But “The Notorious” one, though a much-needed shot in the arm in a weight class that has failed to spark any great amount of fan interest, and, admittedly, a man who could probably beat elite Muay Thai-specialist Aldo at his own game, would make a lousy champ. Why? Because he’d lose in his first title defense.
And it would be against Mendes. McGregor, you see, has never been tested against someone who will cover him like a blanket, and we all know what happens when an ultra-talented striker faces an ultra-experience professional man-hugger. And with that disappointed and ugly loss goes all the interest in the featherweight division.
The facts with McGregor are thus:
- He’s 16-2 in his overall career record, with those two losses coming via submission early on.
- In his four UFC appearances, he’s faced Marcus Brimage, Max Holloway, Diego Brandao and Dustin Poirier at UFC 178 – four men skilled in all areas, but none of them high-caliber wrestlers.
- McGregor is Irish, and the Irish wrestling program is akin to the Olympian Jamaican cross-country skiing team in terms of depth of talent and skill-level.
Yes, it will be exciting to watch the hype for the inevitable Aldo vs. McGregor clash unfold, and it will make for probably the most compelling 145-pound championship bout of all time. But the victory, and subsequent interest and elation will be short-lived. McGregor, in being such an expert trash-talker and stud striker, is definitely earning his shot at the belt, but he’s skipping over a lot of fighters in the rankings who would beat him based on wrestling chops alone, and that little fact is going to bite the UFC in the ass when it comes time for McGregor to stay champ.
When the supposedly “best” fighter in the world can’t stop takedowns, and can’t prevent another man from treating him like a prison cell bunk mate, that just makes everyone look bad.