UFC 229: In recent pound-to-pound rankings, UFC has placed Conor McGregor at second position. Conor McGregor is undeniably one of the most celebrated stars in mixed martial arts. But one question remains unanswered – is McGregor less competent in martial art and more of a self-promoter? McGregor has been termed as being among most overrated martial artist in UFC.
Conor McGregor is fighting lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov in Las Vegas on Saturday 6. This is definitely going to be the biggest challenge in his career.
McGregor is gifted with his hands and feet as he has proved with his ability to win very tough fights. He is 9-1 in UFC and 23-1 in his entire MMA career. He has won against Dustin Poirier, Chad Mendes, Max Holloway, Jose Aldo, Eddie Alvarez and Nate Diaz. Although the list itself is enough prove that he is overrated, let us consider circumstances around each win.
The fight and win over Alvarez can be said to be one of his dominant fight. The opponent was tough and McGregor deserved to win. It is then that he became two-division champion.
Max Holloway is regarded highly by his fan especially for not losing a single fight for 5 straight years. He has lost his last two fights; one to McGregor. However, he was only 21 years when he fought McGregor with only 9 pro fights, while McGregor was 25 years with 15 pro fights. Also, Holloway was requested to step in for Andy Ogle on short notice. Ogle was supposed to fight McGregor but he got an injury from a prior fight. Perhaps the win over Holloway was not as impressive as it has been reported.
It is not easy to analyze McGregor’s fight against Poirier. The 145 pounds Louisiana native did not perform very well. After the fight he moved to lightweight where he is at 8-1. He might not perform better in a rematch against McGregor.
The fight between McGregor and Aldo lasted for 13 seconds only. McGregor really demonstrated fighting prowess. As he would put it, ‘precision beats power and timing beats speed’. It was such a short and abrupt outcome. It is true that McGregor deserved the win, but Aldo seemed to be overwhelmed by McGregor’s fast punches. This, coupled with his endeavor to charge quickly against McGregor could have exposed him to the heavy hook from McGregor. Although we might say that McGregor is a good striker, the questions are still legitimate.
It is undisputed that McGregor lost to Nate Diaz. The scrap happened at 170 pounds. This was two divisions above his weight class. McGregor won in their rematch in majority decision which was disputed. It is possible to make an argument that he lost in that match. Whilst Diaz is a respected fighter, his 19-11 career record is not very impressive. 11 losses are significant especially for a fighter to be considered a serious contender. In addition, Diaz has dropped fights against fighters who may not be considered elite fighters such as Gray Maynard, Joe Stevenson, Josh Thomson and Clay Guida.
McGregor performed well and won against Chad Mendes. However, Mendes came in on short notice; only 12 days. Even with that disadvantage, Mendes managed to batter McGregor with his elbow and to secure four takedowns. He showed exhaustion at the end of the fight but his wrestling was a great challenge to McGregor.
After the trouble with Mendes, one question remains – how will McGregor perform against a physically fit, more prepared and highly motivated Nurmagomedov? Nurmagomedov is 26-0 and has always outperformed all his opponents in every aspect of the fight. Michael Johnson, Al Iaquinta and Edson Barboza all had a promising start in their fight against Nurmagomedov but he walked effortlessly to victory.
The fight between McGregor and Nurmagomedov is going to be a real test of all times. The hype will remain until the very day of the fight but real MMA community members understand the magnitude of UFC 229: McGregor vs Khabib. If no one gets injury or pulls out, this fight is going to be a make or break for McGregor. A win is going to validate all his previous accomplishment!
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