With three knockouts, and two record breaking events in Las Vegas to his credit, it's fair to say that the past 12 months have been pretty sweet for the Notorious One, writes Ed Murphy.
Irish UFC featherweight champion, Conor McGregor, has been awarded two separate honours for his outstanding performances in 2015. U.S. based sports channel ESPN, named him as the Fighter Of The Year and the illustrious Mixed Martial Arts website, Sherdog.com, awarded him the coveted Knockout Of The Year award.
Mystic Mac fought three times in 2015. On January 18th, at UFC Fight Night 59, he routinely defeated Dennis Siver in the second round, by TKO (punches). Irish Times journalist, Ken Early, despairingly remarked that "it was like watching someone beat up your dad."
On July 11th, at UFC 189, he fought the American featherweight, Chad 'Money' Mendes, on two weeks notice. McGregor didn’t mince words when describing his new challenger, “I think Chad is a substitute. The B level. He’s a wrestler with an overhand that gasses.” The Crumlin fighter sent Mendes crumbling to the canvas late in the second round, winning again by TKO (punches).
McGregor's greatest victory was still to come. Just over two weeks ago, in the early hours of Sunday morning, at UFC 194, he landed a devastating left-hook, followed by two more hammer punches to the face of Brazilian champion, Jose Aldo. It took the Irishman just thirteen seconds to disrupt the career of a man who hadn't lost in a decade. For each second the fight lasted, McGregor reportedly took home $622,000. Not too shabby for a young man who was receiving €188 from social welfare in his home country, just three years ago.
After defeating Aldo, Conor posted a heartfelt message to his family, friends, and fans.
Thank you for all the kind messages! I am extremely grateful and proud to be in the position I am in. To the naked eye it was 13 seconds, but to my team and my family it has been a lifetime of work to get to that 13 seconds. Congratulations to the staff at the UFC on a historic week in the sports history and an amazing 2015 for the company. It is an honor to be playing a part in this great companies continued growth and success and an honor to top off a phenomenal week in the sports history. Thank you to all the fans who travelled and made this week what it was!! The traveling Irish are untouchable when it comes to creating the atmosphere needed to make a week like this what it was!! I am forever blown away by the support of my country. We have changed the game forever!!! Respect to a great champion in Jose Aldo. The true greats will always overcome adversity. I wish him and his loyal team well on their journey back. Much respect. Thank you all!!!
Looking ahead to 2016, right now it seems that the sky's the limit for the Notorious One. Firstly, he will be given a homecoming by Dublin City Council at City Hall towards the end of January. Then it comes down to who's the next big money fight? Will it be Donald Cerrone, Frankie Edgar, Dos Anjos, or – and he is the most likely contender – Nate Diaz? McGregor wants to be the next Floyd 'Money' Mayweather. With boxing's lack of star power at the moment, the timing couldn't be sweeter for the trash-talking Irishman. He wants to earn 20 million for his next fight. He wants to hold two UFC title belts, in two different weight classes, at the same time.
Mystic Mac predicted his meteoric rise. He prophesied that he was the going to be the 'money fight' in the UFC. He foretold his left-hand knockout of Jose Aldo. There may come a time – but who are we to doubt him now?
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