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Conor McGregor Honoured as Irish Sportsperson of the Year, Taunts Floyd Mayweather

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A year in which Conor McGregor made UFC history by becoming the first man to hold UFC world titles in two different weight classes simultaneously has ended on yet another high note for the “Notorious” one, as he was today named as RTÉ Sportsperson of the year for 2016. McGregor missed out on the award in 2015 to boxer Michael Conlan and becomes the first representative from MMA to win the prestigious award – a definite significant moment for the sport in Ireland.

After winning the UFC featherweight championship in December 2015, McGregor immediately set his sights on his second UFC title, the lightweight strap. He was scheduled to get that chance in March, but a broken foot forced Rafael dos Anjos to withdraw and McGregor instead took a short notice replacement fight at welterweight against Nate Diaz. That decision would prove to derail McGregor’s plans briefly, as Diaz emerged with a submission win, handing McGregor his first UFC loss. Determined to exorcise the demons of that loss, McGregor pursued the rematch with Diaz like a man possessed and the UFC hierarchy eventually relented, installing the men’s second meeting as UFC 202 main event.

What followed was a Fight of the Night, and Fight of the Year contender, as McGregor would prevail after a 5-round war with Diaz, taking a majority decision back to Ireland. That win, his first at 170 pounds, gave McGregor the ammunition to hunt his white whale – a shot at a second UFC title and the chance to hold both like he did in Cage Warriors. By that time, Eddie Alvarez had dethroned dos Anjos, and the “Underground King” was only too willing to take on the challenge of the Irishman. The date and location was set – November 12, UFC 205 in the UFC’s maiden show in Madison Square Garden.

This was McGregor’s chance to do what he had so boldly predicted he would after winning his UFC debut in 2013 – ascend to the top of both the featherweight and lightweight divisions. Not only would he fulfil that promise, he would do it with arguably the best performance of his career.

McGregor completely dominated the bout, repeatedly knocking Alvarez to the ground with lightning fast striking until, midway through the second round, he put Alvarez down for the final time, giving him the win and his spot in the history books.

McGregor was unable to attend the awards ceremony in person, but sent his thanks via a pre-recorded video, saying

“Thank you so much to the fans for voting me as RTÉ Sports Person of the year for 2016.I’m grateful and extremely blessed to have the support of my home country. Thank you RTÉ as well. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there – you know I love to stick on a good suit, roll into these ceremonies and collect an award so I’m a little upset about that. So thank you RTÉ, thanks to the fans. It’s been a hell of a year and I look forward to 2017”

In an interview with RTÉ’s Clare McNamara, which was also broadcast during the ceremony, McGregor spoke of how big 2016 was for him, calling it the culmination of 28 years of hard work. In true McGregor form, however, he also took aim at a man who has been doing his fair share of talking about the Irishman in recent times – Floyd Mayweather. After being asked about the possibility of the two meeting down the line, McGregor responded by saying:

“I’ve got the boxing licence. His last pay-per-view was 350,000 buys. The fight was a flop, it was a dud. His last two fights have been duds. I certainly don’t need him. I could pick some local schmuk and still do huge numbers. Of course the Floyd fight is the fight the public want to see, but we’ll see. These things take time.”

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[Watch] First trailer for Conor McGregor: Notorious released

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Many have wondered when we would get to see Conor McGregor have his own documentary film in cinemas. After months of waiting and teasing at it through social media we finally have the initial trailer. The trailer shows some fantastic little clips from throughout his career. From a first glance this is without a doubt one to be looking forward to, enjoy. Conor McGregor: Notorious will hit theatres November.

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What must Conor McGregor do to be considered the undisputed G.O.A.T?

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In November 2016, Conor McGregor cemented his legacy as an all time great by becoming the first simultaneous two weight world champion holding both the Featherweight and Lightweight belts. In that year McGregor also won three fights at three different weight classes.

“The Notorious One” has the fourth highest win percentage in the UFC at 90%, and he owns the fastest finish in a UFC title fight. This may upset a few MMA purists as McGregor only has 10 UFC fights to his name, but he is certainly in the G.O.A.T discussion now more than ever after his recent bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

There are three possible ways to define the greatest of all time.

  1. Whether or not the individual is a pioneer of the sport and earns plaudits for their innovation and creativity, e.g. Royce Gracie is a perfect example.
  2. Whether the fighter has done a lot to help develop and grow the sport e.g. Chuck Liddell isn’t always top of everyone’s list but he’s always in the conversation due to the way he brought the UFC to mainstream audiences.
  3. Judging a fighter on their skill set and MMA record, e.g. Jon Jones who has a perfect MMA record with some high calibre opponents on his list of victims.

Conor McGregor fits in to each category on this list and deserves to be in the G.O.A.T discussion, but he’s not quite the undisputed number one just yet. Here are some of the things McGregor needs to do to become the undisputed greatest of all time.

Defend His Belt

Conor McGregor two belts

What do Demetrious Johnson, GSP, Anderson Silva and Jon Jones all have in common? They all have multiple title defences and they’re all in the G.O.A.T discussion because of it. Jon Jones has the least out of those named competitors with 8 consecutive title defences. Conor McGregor currently has 0 title defences despite being a UFC champion since December 2015.

In defence of McGregor every time it’s looked like he would be defending his belt a much bigger opportunity has arisen. When the time came to defend his Cage Warriors belts he was off to the UFC.

After winning his featherweight title at UFC 194, he was scheduled to make history by facing Rafael Dos Anjos for the lightweight belt at UFC 196, before facing Diaz. After losing on March 5th, McGregor then re-matched Diaz in the biggest fight in UFC history with the event playing host to the UFC buy rate record with roughly 1.6 million buys.

Then it was time to make history at UFC 205 where he became the first simultaneous two weight world champion. And when it finally looked like he would defend his belt he faced Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the biggest fight of all time for $100 million.

But now it’s finally time for McGregor to defend his belt. I’m not necessarily saying he has to match Jones’ 8 title defences, as I believe he will retire long before he even gets there. But maybe 3 or 4 title defences against competitors like Diaz, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson will prove he is championship material, and has what it takes to keep hold of the belt in a shark tank division stacked filled with trained killers.

It would be a move to silence the haters and stake his claim as the best to ever do it.

Become the First Fighter to Beat Khabib Nurmagomedov

McGregor is no stranger to doing something no other man has ever done before. So it would be no surprise to see him be the first fighter to beat Nurmagomedov.

Say what you like about Khabib, whether you think he’s an elite fighter or just your average Joe with a padded record (he’s not), but there’s one thing you have to say about him, he’s undefeated.

Fans on Twitter are constantly claiming Khabib is the man to dethrone McGregor. If that’s the case, then it would be equally impressive to see McGregor defend his crown against Khabib and hand him his first loss, adding another historic moment to his storied career. It is a win that would truly legitimise his G.O.A.T status.

Win the Third Fight Against Nate Diaz

McEnroe had Borg. Brady had Peyton Manning. Messi has Ronaldo. And Conor McGregor has Nate Diaz. Every great needs a great rival to make them better. Just look at Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones for example, those two men pushed and motivated each other to be better for years.

The problem with these great rivalries is that they have to be won to secure your legacy, nobody remembers the loser. Winning the trilogy fight against Nate would make Conor the clear winner in this rivalry and answer all questions asked from his doubters, it would see him earn a huge amount of respect and would catapult him to a legendary status.

However, the flip side to that is that if Nate won the third fight then Conor has even more questions asked of him, he may lose some of his star power and could also drop out of the G.O.A.T discussion.

Win the Welterweight Title

McGregor has already won the featherweight and lightweight belts, but he has claimed he’s coming for “all the belts” and I believe him.

If McGregor was the first man to become a three weight World Champion it would be hard to argue he is not the greatest mixed martial artist ever. Especially if he was to beat a top level fighter like Tyron Woodley, GSP or Robbie Lawler to become the welterweight champion. It is another impressive feat that would put him above the rest. It’s a big ask but that’s why it would make him the G.O.A.T.

Stay Clean and Know When it’s the Right Time to Retire

It sounds simple but one of the things that has hurt some of MMA’s biggest stars be considered the greatest has been their inability to stay clean and leaving the game before their inevitable decline.

Some notable stars like Chuck Liddell and B.J Penn’s cases of being the G.O.A.T have been damaged by the later stages of their careers, where they could not perform like they were capable of in their prime, leaving a sour taste in the mouths of many fans who may only remember the last few fights they had.

If McGregor quits whilst he’s ahead he won’t be fighting unnecessarily and tarnishing his legacy by competing when his chin has gone, and his athleticism has declined.

If McGregor can stay clean, which I have no doubt he will as he has always been an honest fighter, then he already has one up on those that have been caught taking steroids. Fighters like Jones and Silva’s legacies have not been ruined by testing positives but people will always view them differently because of it.

Conor has always made his intentions clear, “Get in. Get rich. Get Out” and a retirement in his early 30’s is more than likely, especially with a smart coaching team around him who want to see him happy and healthy. We will look back on his career fondly rather than thinking what could have been.

Let us know what you think Conor McGregor must do to be considered the G.O.A.T.

 

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Seriously, How is Joanna Jedrzejczyk Not in the Top 5 P4P Rankings?!

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Honest to God question here, how is Joanna Jedrzejczyk not in the top 5 of the UFC’s Pound for Pound rankings?

Jedrzejczyk is arguably the greatest female fighter of all time, yet she’s stuck behind three fighters who don’t even have a title defense on their record. Yes, these fighter rankings don’t hold much weight but put some respect on her name. Ranking Joanna at number seven is absolute blasphemy.

Official Pound for Pound rankings as of September 28, 2017. Source: UFC.com

The amount of disrespect the UFC shows to their fighters is at an all-time high so we shouldn’t really be surprised here. It’s understandable that Joanna is behind the likes of Conor McGregor and Demetrious Johnson in the rankings — but after that, it can be argued that she deserves that number three spot on the list.

Let’s take a look at just a few of Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s accomplishments:

  • Five successful title defenses (second most in UFC women’s division history)
  • A perfect 14-0 record, 8-0 in the UFC
  • Most leg kicks in a fight in UFC history
  • Highest significant strikes thrown in a UFC championship bout
  • Highest significant strikes differential in a UFC championship bout

Joanna has more title defenses than Conor McGregor, Stipe Miocic, Max Holloway, Daniel Cormier, and Cody Garbrandt — COMBINED. That alone should at least warrant her a top five spot on the list, yet all five of those fighters aforementioned are ranked ahead of her.

The common argument against Joanna is the “lack of competition” that she has faced, and while that is partially true, let’s not forget about the “competition” Demetrious Johnson has been up against — and he’s sitting comfortably at number one on the list. Also, we just saw how vicious both Jessica Andrade and Claudia Gadelha are at UFC Japan, and Joanna dominated both women and virtually neutralized their attacks. So that flawed “lack of competition” argument is irrelevant.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk has looked nothing short of spectacular in her time as UFC strawweight champion. Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

It’s about time that Joanna Jedrzejczyk starts getting the respect she deserves as a UFC champion. She is undoubtedly the best striker in the women’s division and may be the best striker overall on the UFC roster. Joanna has the second most title defenses currently of a UFC champion and if that doesn’t earn her a top three spot on the list I don’t know what will.

If top three is a little too rich for your blood, that’s understandable. But there is no way she should be outside of the top five and there is no arguing that. As Khabib would say, “This is number one bullsh*t!”

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