Recently, UFC 205 occurred, and the main focus point of the competition seemed to be the matchup between Conor McGregor, current Featherweight title holder, and Eddie Alvarez, seemingly attempting to maintain his status as UFC Lightweight champion. Yet, whilst McGregor may have been deemed the underdog, it was he who emerged victorious, winning via technical knockout in the second round. As such, the Irishman, nicknamed The Notorious, had gained victory versus the reigning champion yet, perhaps more notably, simultaneously had become the first man in UFC history to obtain, and hold, two belts simultaneously. Perhaps it may be this accomplishment, coupled with the fact he has achieved 90% of his wins via knockout, which ensures his legacy as an accomplished competitor may be remembered for decades.
Pre-match, it seemed Alvarez may have been deemed the favourite, and the statistics seem to support this suggestion; the American entered the tie with a record of 28-4, with over 50% of those wins coming via a knockout. Additionally, he has emerged victorious versus multiple previous champions, including Pat Currin and Anthony Pettis, yet perhaps more crucially entered as the reigning champion. McGregor, on the other hand, headed into the match with a superior knockout rate of 90%, and with possession of the Featherweight title, obtained as a result of his victory versus Jose Aldo after 13 seconds. Yet, McGregor still seemed to be billed as the underdog, although perhaps utilising it to his advantage, as he seemed to continue to adapt his style as a result of his double matchup versus Nate Diaz in UFC’s 196 and 202 respectively. It seems to be this flexibility enabling McGregor to achieve in the sport, as by constantly adapting he seems to possess the quality to emerge victorious versus multiple competitors across various weight categories.
During the match, McGregor seemed to focus on his movement around The Octagon, seemingly adapting his style after his matchup with Nate Diaz; seemingly utilising his previous experiences, he focused on his strength and punching power, which many plaudits seem to have deemed his key ability, along with attempting to nullify any flurries his rival attempted to land. Whilst Alvarez did seem to attempt to gain victory versus his opponent, it was ultimately the Irishman who emerged victorious: a TKO awarded with 1:56 remaining in the second round. As a result, McGregor seems to have showcased his ability to achieve success across various weight categories, perhaps suggesting he is an accomplished competitor who possesses longevity and determination to achieve records in all areas of the sport.
With victory versus Alvarez, McGregor may now be considered amongst the most accomplished competitors in UFC history. Yet, whilst the accomplishment of holding the Lightweight belt seems to be a pivotal moment in McGregor’s career, his other records and achievements may surpass this aforementioned victory. In 24 matches, the Irishman has emerged victorious 21 times, resulting in a win record of 90% and, amongst those wins, 18 have been via knockout. These statistics seem to have contributed to his placement at the top of the Lightweight rankings, and as such McGregor is amongst a handful of competitors who have reached what seems to be the pinnacle of the sport. All of this, in addition to McGregor becoming the first competitor in history to simultaneously hold two belts, seems to suggest he is competing at his peak ability, and may be able to maintain his reign at the top.
McGregor may enter future UFC matches as the favourite as, now he is a double title holder, he may be the competitor every other competitor may look to emulate. This seems to be a fresh challenge for McGregor who, having seemingly spent the majority of his championship bouts under the title of underdog, may now be motivated by the desire to increase his tenure at the top. Yet, he may embrace this challenge, as he seems to have done with his previous challenges and, ultimately, perhaps it is this determination enabling him to consistently win titles, and accomplish further in the sport.
How may McGregor further increase his credentials in the UFC in order to ensure he maintains possession of his belts?