MMA (mixed martial arts) is still a relatively new sport, especially when you compare it with other major sports. However, has the sport already found its leading contender for greatest of all time? There’s a solid argument to be made that the UFC’s biggest superstar, Conor McGregor, might already be the best to ever do it.
McGregor, who’s currently slated to headline the UFC’s mega-card in New York City on November 12, has taken the promotion as well as all of MMA to the next level in ways no other fighter has been able to. He’s transcended to a whole new atmosphere when it comes to bringing in huge Pay Per View numbers, which of course means dollar signs for him and the promotion. But aside from all the talking and entertaining he does (oh so well), the Irishmen tends to back it up in a big way once he’s in the cage. McGregor has a 20-3 record in MMA, with his only loss in the UFC coming by way of a Nate Diaz submission. A loss he recently avenged in a decision win over the younger of the Diaz brothers.
There’s no one else like him in all of MMA right now, period. You can like the guy, you can hate the guy, but it doesn’t matter. You are going to tune in to see him back up his ridiculous talk, or take a beating – and trust me when I say the UFC couldn’t care less which side you’re on. Sure, there are fighters trying to beef up their trash talk and trying to follow in McGregor’s footsteps after seeing the kind of dough he’s bringing in, but that’s all it is, imitation, and it’s pretty easy to see right through it.
Like this guy…
So from a purely entertainment and marketing standpoint, ‘Notorious’ is by far the GOAT. Ask any MMA fan if there’s been a better fighter as far as selling a fight and they might be able to think of a handful of good candidates, but that’s all they are, runner-ups.
Now let’s talk about the work he does in the cage. This is where there’s more wiggle room for debate.
McGregor was a multiple weight class champion before entering the UFC and has been nothing short of spectacular since stepping in the octagon. He beat everyone he went up against in the featherweight division, including two of the very best in former title challenger Chad Mendes and then division champion and arguably pound-for-pound best (at the time) Jose Aldo. Oh and Aldo, yeah he KO’d him in 16 seconds.
Then what did McGregor do? He decided to jump up in weight.
On Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden he’ll be challenging for the lightweight title against current champ Eddie Alvarez. If he’s successful he’ll be the only fighter in UFC history to hold a title in two different weight classes at the same time.
So while there may be other fighters who have done extraordinary things in the cage, names like Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre come to mind, McGregor seems to have dominated both sides of the game unlike anyone else in the young history of the sport. So, shouldn’t that alone be enough to at least consider him the GOAT?
At this point, and especially if he manages to make history in New York, you’ve got to put his name in the running.
Plus, he’s in a Call of Duty with Jon Snow….
What would it take for you to name McGregor the greatest of all time?