I was there. I saw it. McGregor Vs Mendes at the MGM Arena this past Saturday July 11th, 2015. Between the cocky yells and drunken hordes of Irish waving flags screaming that they were there to “take over.” I am Irish and Puerto Rican so I was only allowed to partially take over the mostly downtrodden parts of town the sharply suited Irish left behind. I have been an MMA fan before UFC 1 and remain one to this day. It is my sport. I love it. I not only go to UFC events all over America, I also support local “smoker” fights at MMA gyms all over the West Coast. I am not an expert. Nothing more then a tremendous and supportive fan. That being said, here are are few thoughts on the fight:
1) He is the number on draw of all time so now current fighters and almost all those coming up underneath will act like him. Why is this bad? The reason why the UFC is so great is it is the exact opposite of boxing. Because there is a martial arts current running underneath, right next to the wrestling current, there is a mutual respect for your opponent. The UFC has been able to be extremely profitable and still have the fighters respect one another. Sure there were rivalries but 99% of the time there was a genuine respect for the other fighter. I don’t believe Connor McGregor just made his fortune by breaking that mold. Every fighter just learned that if you want to be a draw and make money, all you have to do is act like a drunk douchebag at last call and money will fall from the sky. The UFC just became boxing – over night.
And just like drunk douchbags at last call…
2) Connor McGregor is all talk. But Mick, he just won the belt. He’s the CHAMP! So was Brock Lessnar. Connor McGregor had full camp cardio against a guy who only had two weeks. Sure you can say Mendes shouldn’t have taken the fight on two weeks notice but you take the shot when you can. He gassed out. He didn’t have the cardio. There are rumors Mendes doesn’t keep his cardio up between fights and we saw proof of that Saturday night. We saw proof of something else – McGregor can only fight standing up. ZERO Jiu Jitsu skills. ZERO wrestling. None. Zilch. Mendes picked him up and slammed him down at will. Connor, in full McGregor form, acted like he was being patient and waiting. That’s better then shitting your pants in panic when you realize somehow/someway your camp has let you believe your 1985 Karate Kid fighting stance will work. And the worst thing of all happened – it did. He won. So now… he talks himself deeper into a whole where a full rounded fighter waits to destroy him.
3) All the hype sold tickets. All the other fighters saw that being a dick and disrespecting your opponent broke every record in the history of the UFC. Something else might have been broken Saturday too – the UFC itself. I see nothing but a slide from here on out unless Dana rights the ship, which based on the recent Reebok deal prohibiting fighters from garnering their own sponsors, I doubt will happen anytime soon. And let me go on the record saying I am happy for McGregor. He hyped himself, first he believed it, then he got other people to believe it to. I thought Aldo dropping out and Mendes getting the fight was the worst thing that could have happened to McGregor. But it turned out to be the best because he gets to drink his own Kool Aid until his next fight. I don’t believe McGregor is the same kind of athlete as GSP, who somehow picked up wrestling at an insane elite level and rounded out his game. I saw this because McGregor couldn’t even sprawl against Mendes.
My prediction: McGregor is an accurate powerful puncher with a great chin who will move up to 155 after October. He is an incredibly GREAT and FUN fighter to watch. He knows how to promote a fight (even if I don’t agree with the way in which he does it) But I truly believe the first time he faces a fighter with Mendes’s wrestling and striking power with FULL CARDIO – HE WILL GET DESTROYED. DOMINATED. I cannot believe the hype. I was there. I saw a fighter lying on his back talking shit to the man punching him the face to quell the raging storm inside of him screaming out “Connor, keep talking shit because some day… some day.. they are all going to find out the truth… and until then, keep running your mouth and cashing those checks.” Like Lessnar, there was a crack in the time/space continuam that allowed a one dimensional fighter to become champ. NOT FOR LONG.