UFC 197 is set to go down exactly four weekends after Super Bowl 50, and it is going to be every bit as big of an event for the franchise that has become the torchbearer for mixed martial arts. The highly-anticipated event in Las Vegas will peak with Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor squaring off with Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos. If McGregor wins, which both the Irishman and the experts in Las Vegas expect to happen, he will become the first UFC combatant to hold belts in two different weight classes.
McGregor’s rise from obscurity to worldwide fame has occurred at an impressive rate over the last year and a half, and for a handful of legitimate reasons. Here they are.
“When I hit, they fall.”
This is the proclamation the Irish-born slugger made long before he hit Brazilian superstar José Aldo with a left hook and ended the biggest fight in 2015 in just 12 seconds. Since he accomplished the historic feat, the extremely bold man has become even more believable.
McGregor has boasted of his intense study of the behavioral habits and general movements of gorillas, and he has the likeness of the primate tattooed on his chest, feasting upon a human heart. In a copycat world, his success emulating an animal may lead to the influx of fighters mimicking other animals. In two or three years, Joe Rogan may be forced to describe a “Chicken-Cluck Punch” and a “Hippo Roll.”
McGregor grew up in a tough, blue-collar section of Dublin, Ireland. He likely staged many unsanctioned bouts throughout his childhood and teenage years, which is why he was quick to dismiss the notion that boxer Floyd Mayweather lofted his way recently. Mayweather said something to the effect that McGregor would be no big news if he were not Caucasian, to which the wily Irishmen responded that he could end the talkative boxer’s life within 60 seconds if they were ever in a fenced-off area together.
During his recent appearance as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter, McGregor displayed his signature swagger. When opposing coach and extensively accomplished California-based fighter Uriah Faber said to McGregor, “I ain’t afraid of s***” during a heated discussion, McGregor responded with, “I never said you were. But you would be an easy fight for me.”
Calling Out Anyone
When McGregor defeated journeyman Denis Siver by TKO early into the second round back in January 2015, he climbed the top of the octagon and bolted into the Boston audience to confront José Aldo, who was seated ringside and standing up at the time. It was a clear shot over the bow of the longtime champion, which McGregor backed up in quick fashion in later in the year.
His newest opponent is Rafael dos Anjos, and if he dismisses of the current champion of the UFC’s Lightweight Division, it is actually unclear as to who exactly will be able to step up and challenge the confident, durable and highly dangerous 27-year-old currently living the life of his dreams.
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