How will the MMA history books look back on Conor McGregor? If he wins the UFC lightweight title too, we may have a future GOAT on our hands…
‘The Greatest Of All-Time,’ a moniker used to describe an elite few over the short lifespan of mixed martial arts as a sport. The prime years of any given fighter are essentially a drop in the ocean of this sport, making their achievements all the more impressive should they become recognized in this group reserved for the best of the best.
As much as we had begun to think that MMA had reached it’s peak in potential and evolution, it’s time to realize that perhaps this is just the tip of the iceberg. One fighter on everyone’s lips right now, who co-incidentally just obliterated a fighter previously mentioned in the GOAT conversation, Conor McGregor could well be on his way to becoming one of the greatest fighters in the sport’s history.
A little premature for this kind of talk? Perhaps, but let’s just put in to focus what transpired at UFC 194. McGregor did not only defeat Jose Aldo, he wrecked him with a single punch, putting to an end the Brazilian legend’s 10-year reign at the top of the division. Not only this, but McGregor both predicted and acted out the entire fight before it happened.
So what does it take to be included in the list of all-time greats? Transcendence of the sport is not an easy task to achieve, and requires a number of ingredients to take place. First of all, you have to beat the best, so you can tick that box for McGregor in the form of Aldo. Secondly, you can’t be run of the mill, something needs to stand out about your fighting style. Again, McGregor has this in hoards.
A long unbeaten streak is essential when considering who gets added to the list of GOATs, as is evident with most of the familiar faces in the MMA hall of fame. Fedor Emelianenko, Anderson Silva, Jose Aldo and GSP to name a few. There are of course a few exceptions to this, such as old school trailblazers like Randy Couture, Kazushi Sakuraba and many others. The fact is nowadays, unless you have that long unbeaten streak with top notch opponents and a fun-to-watch style, you’ll probably be left out of the conversations about the elite MMA fighters.
There’s also a need for antics outside the ring/cage in the modern fight game, but this has been the case for many years with boxing. The ability to talk up a fight not only servers as a seat filler, but also adds to a fighter’s persona and allows the fans to connect with them, thus boosting their image in general.
McGregor’s uncanny ability to call his own fights, talk better than anyone in MMA history, and fight with a style that’s so unique and forward thinking has made him an overnight sensation. How long will his stint at the top last though? Truthfully, anyone who’s willing to stand and strike with him is going to come up short, but one man at featherweight might have the answer, and that’s Frankie Edgar. The ex-lightweight champion is a stud wrestler, and is calling out for the next 145-pound title fight. More on that as it comes up.
Is Conor McGregor a future hall of famer, or perhaps you already rank him up there with the all time legends of the sport? One thing is for sure, if he wins a title at lightweight, he could shoot straight to the top of the list before his reign has even got moving.