UFC 205 could cement McGregor’s place as GOAT

A win against Eddie Alvarez would make Conor McGregor the first ever fighter to hold two UFC belts simultaneously.

Meryl D'Souza November 10, 2016

“I am the all-time great. That's it. I will raise two belts. Show me who else has done it. I don't see him," said a supremely confident Conor McGregor in the press leading up to UFC 205.

UFC 205 will be legendary for two reasons: first, it marks the UFC’s return to the state of New York after nearly two-and-a-half decades, and second, there is a chance McGregor will become the first fighter to simultaneously hold two UFC belts.

Notice how Conor McGregor is literally one of the two big things about UFC 205? That’s how much he has transcended the sport. You don’t need to take our word for it. There are leaked documents that back that statement up. McGregor isn’t just one of the stars in that UFC locker-room, he is the sun. The man has drawn in more than a million eyeballs in each of his last three fights. When McGregor fights, the world watches.

Since, his debut, McGregor’s rise to the top has been unparalleled. People drew comparisons almost instantaneously. He had the arrogance of Floyd Mayweather, the viciousness of Mike Tyson, the fearlessness of Manny Pacquiao, the desire of Muhammad Ali and the mic skills of a seasoned WWE wrestler. 

In six UFC bouts, McGregor clinched the featherweight championship. The hype was real and the man was demolishing everyone in front of him. McGregor had this ability to win bouts before he even stepped into the Octagon. His mind games and trash talking did a large portion of his job for him: it made his opponents complacent by getting them riled up. 

Life follows this wonderful principle where it feels it needs to knock you off your perch every now and then, just to keep things interesting. For McGregor, that knockdown came in the form of Nate Diaz in the Irishman's first welterweight fight.

In an interview with Reebok, McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, called the loss a “very valuable life lesson.” He felt it taught McGregor “how to channel the energy from a loss and turn it into something positive so that you can improve for the future.” 

McGregor’s loss forced him to look back at everything he did in the build up to that fight. He zeroed in on the problem: too much bark, no bite. Following the fight, the reigning featherweight champion was embroiled in a battle with Dana White over the best use of his time.

In McGregor’s view, the prolonged media rounds he was asked to do before each of his fights ate into his training time. As he sat comfortably on a leather couch answering the same stale questions over and over, his opponent was at the gym training every minute. His feud with White meant he was cut fro UFC 200, but that didn’t deter McGregor one bit. He was already an elite in the fight world.

McGregor and his trainer used that downtime to train for the inevitable Diaz rematch. Kavanagh wasn’t one to worry about what Diaz would do. “You can never predict what the opponent’s going to do, but we can predict how we’re going to move,” he said. “We put a lot of effort into improving our own areas of weakness, then come what may when the opponent arrives.”

When the day of reckoning came with the UFC 202 match card, McGregor justified his stance with a decision win in the epic rematch.

In a couple of days time, McGregor will take on Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205. Winning this fight will cement McGregor’s legacy as the greatest of all-time. You can’t argue with that. Should he win, the man will be holding an unprecedented two UFC belts.

Conor and his camp are going at this event with just that singular goal in mind. Kavanagh says as much: ““I look forward to the day that me and Conor are sitting around a fire in a couple of decades and thinking back about the old days. We’ll be remembering that first time the UFC came to Madison Square Garden. Conor being the first main event. Conor being the first fighter to hold two belts simultaneously. If that doesn’t give you chills down your spine, I think you’re dead.”