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Measuring Momentum- the Dwyer Score of UFC 202: Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor II

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One of the most anticipated bouts of the year is right around the corner, and that anticipation shows in the event’s Dwyer Score as UFC 202 registers a large +23. That score ranks 5th of 2016’s 24 events thus far, beating July’s UFC 200 (+19) though falling just short of the two headliner’s original bout in March at UFC 196 (+24).

It’s the highest scoring event of any kind since early June, and of the 19 fighters eligible to contribute a score to Saturday’s event, 15 are coming off at least 1 win. For sake of comparison, at UFC 201 11 of the 21 fighters contributing a score were coming off at least 1 win. That means 79% of this Saturday’s card are coming of a UFC victory compared to 52% at UFC 201- this was not an easy card to get booked on.

The highest scorer on the card is Cody Garbrandt (+4), the undefeated 25-year-old coming off the highest-profile victory of his career in the form of a first-round KO over a previously undefeated Thomas Almeida. The lowest contributor to this event is Artem Lobov (-2) after back-to-back disappointing performances against Ryan Hall and Alex White.

Demian Maia and Carlos Condit were originally slated to meet on this card (a booking that would have increased UFC 202’s Dwyer Score to +27, by the way), which would have put UFC 202 in the discussions for the most stacked main card this year, but with Garbrandt, Glover Teixeira, Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson, Donald Cerrone et al still on the billing, maybe that booking would have been too greedy.

The Big Contributors

Conor McGregor -1 : McGregor is coming into this fight off the back of his first UFC defeat. If he wins this bout, talk of a lightweight title shot, possibly at Madison Square Garden at UFC 205, will be back on. If he loses this bout, Team Conor can downplay the Nate Diaz saga as a brave foray into a higher weight class before returning for a featherweight title defence. Make no mistake, a second loss to Diaz here will not see Conor McGregor fade into the background, though it certainly changes the flavour of his 2016 plans.

Nate Diaz +2 : Diaz could be getting paid more in 2016 than he made in his entire career beforehand. The McGregor saga has kick-started a career that had looked for a moment as if it were starting to wind-down. It’s hard to say what a second victory over Conor would mean for Nate, would the UFC feel comfortable granting him a title-shot? Would Nate even want a title-shot? And if so, lightweight or welterweight? The Diaz brothers are such enigmas, impossible to predict, and if Nate is victorious again on Saturday then we’ll all have a job trying to guess what comes next.

Anthony Johnson +2 : ‘Rumble’ is 5-1 since returning to the UFC, with 4 of those victories coming via TKO/KO (3 in the first round, 1 in the second). Glover Teixeira is a former title challenger and a tough challenge for anyone, but a man whose recent UFC opponents include Phil Davis, Lil’ Nog, Alexander Gustafsson, Daniel Cormier, Jimi Manuwa and Ryan Bader will not be put off by Glover’s reputation. Daniel Cormier has already said he’d like to fight the winner of this bout, which is clearly the number one contender bout in the light-heavyweight division.


Last 5 Dwyer Scores

UFC 202 Diaz vs McGregor II +23

UFC FN Rodríguez vs Cacares +11

UFC 201 Lawler vs Woodley +12

UFC on FOX Holm vs Shevchenko +2

UFC FN McDonald vs Lineker +10


The Dwyer score is a simple way of assigning a numeric value to the momentum of any one event. We can do this by assigning a figure to each fighter’s current streak. A fighter on a 3 fight win-streak contributes +3 to an event’s score. A fighter on a 2 fight losing-streak contributes -2 to the score. If you tally up the scores for every fighter on a card (only counting UFC fights) you get a total which gives you an idea of the form of fighters heading into that event.

As you may imagine Pay-Per-View events tend to have higher scores than Fight Nights, as fighters on longer winning streaks tend to be placed on bigger cards. For example, UFC Fight Night: Ben Rothwell vs Junior dos Santos was a +4 whilst UFC 194: José Aldo vs Conor McGregor was a +62.

So what does this tell us? It cannot definitively measure the quality or excitement of any one specific event, however it does give a value for a card’s momentum that is immune to the business side of MMA matchmaking. Events pitting fighters at the top of their game against each other will score well, events that fast-track fighters into main card slots or push too many immediate rematches will not.

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Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor has ‘Every intention of fighting in 2018’

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Despite being inactive since his historic boxing bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August, Conor McGregor is never far from the headlines. Recently his out of cage antics have got people questioning if he’ll ever be back.

Thankfully the UFC lightweight champion appears to have cleared up any rumors about his fighting career.

Speaking to his sponsor Betsafe, the “Notorious” Conor McGregor said “My focus is getting back into the right ring or octagon. 2017 was historic. I have transcended both the sport of MMA and boxing. At this stage of my career, as it has been for the majority of my UFC career, potential opponents must lobby for fights with me. We could see Conor McGregor anywhere. I run the fight game, the fashion game, the whiskey game or whatever the next business endeavor might be”.

McGregor added, “I have every intention of fighting in 2018 if my compensation and business development endeavors accurately reflect my influence on combat sports.”

This comes just two weeks after UFC President Dana White told reporters “Conor might never fight again. The guy’s got $100 (expletive) million. I’ve got guys that made less than that and were lawyers and went to school their whole life and quit working.”

White went on to say “Try to get up and get punched in the face every day when you’ve got $100 million in the bank. Money changes everything with a lot of people.”

White also told reporters that the “Notorious one”, “can’t be paid enough money” and that he is “worth every penny and more.” McGregor’s recent statement suggests he knows that and won’t be back till his demands are met.

The UFC lightweight division has been stalled in the absence of the champion McGregor and now the interim champion Tony Ferguson has undergone surgery. The UFC has been known the remove belts from fighters who have been delayed for extended amounts of time, this would be highly unlikely with the popularity of McGregor.

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Will Conor McGregor ever fight again?

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The future of the UFC’s biggest ever star is in doubt. But it was also never a secret. “The Notorious” Conor McGregor always made his intentions clear, “Get in. Get rich. Get out”. And now he’s rich, very rich.

In 2008 at the age of 20 a baby-faced, clean-shaven McGregor stated his ambitions for his MMA career after just 5 professional fights. He said “My dream is to be world champion in the UFC, have more money than I know what to do with, and have a great life for my kids, my grandkids, everyone in my family, everyone that’s come up with me. That’s my dream”.

Along his journey, McGregor has never kept his intentions to himself. At first, it was to get into the UFC. Then it was the featherweight belt. Then it was to replicate what he had done in his previous promotion, to become the UFC’s first simultaneous two-weight world champion.

The issue now is that McGregor has achieved everything he has set out to do. From world titles to being a multi-millionaire, he’s done it all. And now there is no statement of intent. No dream to chase.

Since he’s achieved everything he said he ever wanted, where does the hunger for more come from? Currently, it doesn’t appear to be there.

Since the last time we saw McGregor with gloves on, the charismatic Irishman has seemingly gone off the rails. There was the Bellator 187 incident in Dublin, where McGregor stormed the cage and pushed veteran referee Marc Goddard and slapped an official. But more recently the Irish Daily Mail has reported that McGregor was involved in a bar fight in his native Crumlin, where he is believed to have punched an associate of a major crime gang in Dublin. Whether this is true or not, it is still something a UFC champion and role model shouldn’t be associated with.

From the outside, McGregor’s life is more about hours spent at the club rather than the gym.

But who can blame the man for enjoying the fruits of his labor? He is acting how most 29-year-old men would if they had just received $100 million.

This is his life’s work paying off.

After McGregor’s loss at UFC 196, he wanted an immediate rematch against Nate Diaz at the same weight. It showed us he’s a true martial artist with the heart of a lion. It showed his desperation to get that win back and prove he is the better competitor. And when he won, he proved all his doubters wrong as he walked on crutches through the corridor of the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas screaming “doubt me now”.

But after his loss to Mayweather Jr., there has seemingly been no desire to arrange a fight to get back in the win column.

It’s easy to forget during this period of inactivity that McGregor is one of the most active guys in MMA. From UFC 194 to UFC 205, McGregor competed in 4 fights at 3 different weight classes against high caliber opponents inside the space of 11 months. The truth is he deserves a well-earned rest.

 

Conor McGregor UFC 205

However, in a recent media scrum, Dana White confirmed that Conor was looking to fight before the end of the year but had been pulled from UFC 219 as punishment for the incident at Bellator 187.

Dana also told the reporters in the room “Conor might never fight again. The guys got $100 million. I’ve got guys that made less than that and were lawyers and went to school their whole life and quit working”.

White also said, “Try and get up and get punched in the face every day when you’ve got $100 million in the bank”.

The two statements from Dana are very contradicting as he isn’t sure McGregor will ever fight again, but at the same time he wanted to fight on December 30th. Maybe Dana is struggling to pick apart the mind of Conor McGregor as much as we are.

There are plenty of reasons why Conor should never come back.

Not only is he set for life but he’s also healthy. McGregor is extremely conscious about his health and has mentioned several times throughout his career about the importance of keeping your brain healthy.

But there are plenty of reasons why he should he come back.

He loves to fight and he loves making money. He needs to capitalize on that whilst he can.

McGregor doesn’t have to settle for one big payday, he has matchups waiting for him such as Ferguson, Diaz, and GSP. There is always the welterweight belt and his Croke Park dream. And the door is open for a return to boxing, especially with fighters like De La Hoya, Pacquiao, and Malignaggi calling him out.

He’s also at the peak in terms of age and physique and in terms of power. Where he has the whole MMA world on strings with every small move he makes.

There is no knowing if McGregor will ever fight again. If McGregor returns to his usual self, he will likely be back in the first quarter of 2018, where he will fight frequently. But as time ticks on and there is no fight announcement McGregor may be stripped of his belt never to be seen again.

He got in. He got rich. Is he out? Let us know.

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Manny Pacquiao Hints at Possible 2018 Fight with Conor McGregor

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Here we go again. Just when we thought Conor McGregor was set on a return to the octagon, boxing legend Manny Pacquiao has seemingly called out the charismatic Irishman with his latest Instagram post.

It appears the current senator of the Philippines also wants a trip on the money train that is Conor McGregor, as he sent out this cryptic message on his Instagram.

Happy Thanksgiving! Stay fit my friend. #realboxingmatch #2018 @thenotoriousmma

A post shared by Manny Pacquiao (@mannypacquiao) on

The caption reads “Happy thanksgiving! Stay fit my friend. #realboxingmatch #2018 @thenotoriousmma”.

This comes a week after retired boxer Oscar De La Hoya claimed he has been secretly training for a bout with “The Notorious One.” Speaking on ‘Golden Boy Radio with Tattoo and the Crew’, De La Hoya claimed “I’m faster than ever and stronger than ever. I know I can take out Conor McGregor out in two rounds”.

After his most recent loss to Australian boxer Jeff Horn, retirement looked imminent for ‘Pac-Man’. But a shot at McGregor and the pay day his name brings, appears to be far too tempting.

McGregor loves to test himself and he loves money. So he will be licking his lips just thinking about the opportunity to get back in the ring against a high calibre opponent like Pacquiao. Not just to make money, but to prove his doubters wrong after his boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather Jr.

McGregor’s immediate future looks set to be a fight with Tony Ferguson in 2018. But after that who knows what the future holds for the UFC lightweight champion.

If McGregor’s next fight is a boxing match with Pacquiao, then it could spell the end of his title reign. As Ferguson likes to say it’s ‘defend or vacate’ time.

 

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