Despite losing to undefeated boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr. this past August, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor is bigger than ever. The 29-year-old Irishman is continuously raising the bar for other combat athletes and has already carved out his place in history as the only UFC fighter ever to simultaneously hold titles in two separate divisions.
As McGregor makes his journey back to the Octagon, so does his ability to produce great moments in combat sports. According to one powerful voice in the mixed martial arts (MMA) community, McGregor is a once-in-a-lifetime type of fighter who has already proven to be better than the rest.
“I think he’s a unique guy in a very – it’s almost like we don’t have a word strong enough [to describe him],” UFC color commentator Joe Rogan said during a recent edition of The Joe Rogan Experience. “Unique isn’t a strong enough word. . . He’s got brilliant ability. He’s incredibly smart. He’s very innovative in his techniques and his approaches and I think he has phenomenal coaching as well.
“He’s a combination of a lot of things. He has a brilliant team. John Kavanagh, his coach, is a brilliant coach. He’s got amazing jiu-jitsu coaching and striking coaching and his mind, he understands how to apply these things. His ability to perform under pressure is fantastic. You saw that in the Mayweather fight. Even though he lost that fight, he hit Mayweather with some pretty good shots and he won the first three rounds against the greatest boxer of all-time. That’s extraordinary.
“Conor’s an extraordinary person. He has greatness.”
While many were worried that a shocking loss to Mayweather inside of the boxing ring would diminish McGregor’s stranglehold on MMA, it doesn’t appear like that is happening. Even though Mayweather starched “Notorious” with a vicious 10th-round TKO, McGregor landed enough shots in the boxing superfight to turn his biggest doubters into intrigued fans.
“I don’t think it hurts his stock in any way. I think it elevates him,” Rogan said. “His next fight in the UFC, whoever it will be, will be probably the biggest fight in UFC history, especially if it’s Nate Diaz because Nate Diaz is a huge name. If Nate Diaz and him decide to do it one more time I think that will be the biggest fight ever in the history of the sport because I think Conor has eclipsed the sport, largely.
“He’s the biggest combat sport athlete not just of today, but ever. There’s no one like him.”
At this point, McGregor is in control of his own future. If he does decide to take on Nate Diaz for a trilogy fight then it would certainly produce some of the biggest numbers in UFC history, if not the biggest.
But if the Irishman wants to build on his legacy he’ll find a way to defend his 155-pound title against the division’s best, which includes Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee, who will fight for the interim lightweight strap tomorrow night (Sat., Oct. 7, 2017) at UFC 216 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from Las Vegas, Nevada.