By Lance LeVan
On April 6, 2013, Ultimate Fighting Championship fans were introduced to a new, up-and-coming fighter by the name of Conor McGregor. He was a very brash and cocky fighter, predicting what he was going to do during the fight and predicting in which round he would be victorious.
At first, I have to admit, I was not a fan of his. I usually don’t gravitate towards the boisterous, loud, mouthy fighters who come through Mixed Martial Arts. But after McGregor’s third or fourth fight, it appeared he had the tools to back up everything he predicted.
Every once in a while, an athlete comes along who is on a different level from his or her peers. Michael Jordan was that athlete in basketball. Muhammad Ali was that athlete in boxing. Until recently, Ronda Rousey was that athlete in the women’s UFC.
McGregor is the next level of fighter in the UFC. I have seen several fights where I was certain he was going to lose, and yet somehow, he pulled through and won the fight. I thought there was no possible way McGregor could recover during his fight with Chad Mendes but he did and knocked Mendes out with only three seconds left in the second round. Most fighters would have taken a breather and rested until the third round.
His most recent bout on Dec. 12 was for the unified UFC Featherweight Championship. This fight was touted as being one of the best matchups in UFC history. His opponent, Jose Aldo, was the reigning champion and had not been defeated in more than 10 years.
McGregor knocked Aldo out in 13 seconds of the first round. It was the type of fight reminiscent of a Mike Tyson or Ronda Rousey bout. If you blinked or went to the bathroom, you probably missed it.
Now that McGregor is the featherweight champion, everyone and their brother will be coming out of the woodwork to try and defeat him. However, I think it is going to be quite a while before someone will be taking this belt away from him.
Conor McGregor does not hide from a challenge and I don’t see anyone currently in the UFC who can match his skill set.
One possible opponent who recently called out McGregor is former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. Edgar deserves a title shot and looks to be a man who could give McGregor a battle since Edgar has never been finished in a fight and is a former champion who knows what it takes to win.
Another opponent could be fellow Irishman Joseph Duffy, who is a lightweight competitor, but one of only two fighters who have successfully defeated McGregor. Duffy would have to move down to the featherweight division and just because Duffy defeated him once doesn’t mean he can’t do it again.
Lastly, there could be a rematch with Aldo even though McGregor knocked him out in only 13 seconds into the first round. One could argue that a rematch would be acceptable much like Holm vs. Rousey II for UFC 200.
I guess we will see what is in store for the Irishman. Congrats Mr. McGregor.