I know Brock Lesnar has laid claim to the title of the “Next Big Thing,” but Conor McGregor just might be taking that moniker for himself.
McGregor said he would go out and finish Top-5 featherweight Takeya Mizugaki Saturday night at UFC 178 in the first round, and that is exactly what “Notorious” did.
Now, McGregor is just four fights into his UFC career, but is there any doubting what he is capable of?
He’s finished Poirier, Diego Brandao and Marcus Brimage, also defeating Max Holloway during his short run so far. But, more impressively, McGregor seems to have a cult following that is becoming more and more mainstream with each passing day.
Take the Las Vegas and MGM Grand Garden Arena crowd for instance.
Sure, earlier this year when McGregor was in the main event in his native country of Ireland the entire arena cheered for him, but to have almost the same feel miles and miles away, that takes something else.
There were a few chants of “USA” for Poirier, but those quickly were silenced by the large Irish contingent that turned out to support their native son. After the performance, McGregor let it be known that he would like nothing more than to fill a stadium in Ireland and face Jose Aldo for the UFC featherweight title.
He even let it be known that if the UFC needs someone to face Aldo should Chad Mendes go down before their planned October title fight, he is more than ready.
But honestly, that wouldn’t do anybody justice.
The UFC, McGregor, Aldo or Mendes and fans around the world need press conferences, face offs and interviews with McGregor to help build the division. Many call the smaller weights out and say they shouldn’t be in main event or headline acts, but with the outspoken nature of the Irish badboy, that all can change.
Just to complete his fantastic evening, McGregor showed up on the FOX Sports 1 post-fight show complete with the UFC world title, claiming that Aldo hand-delivered it to him backstage and “kissed my feet.”