Conor McGregor is currently the biggest name in Ultimate Fighting Championship, and one of the biggest names in all of sports. Now, he’ll be fighting on what UFC president Dana White called the “biggest, baddest card ever” at the UFC 205. McGregor will be fighting Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title at 155 pounds in Madison Square Garden on Nov. 12. This will be the first UFC card in New York State since the legalization of mixed martial arts in the state.
McGregor has the chance to be the third fighter in UFC history to hold UFC championship belts simultaneously in different weight classes, as he is still currently the Featherweight Champion after defeating Jose Aldo in December 2015. Alvarez, however, has other plans.
As is tradition with this sport, the media attention and hype around the fight are just as important as the fight itself. And there has been no shortage of that. Alvarez, the veteran lightweight, went on record saying that the stare down at the media event was the least intimidating one he’s ever seen.
Alvarez has been trying to pick a fight with McGregor for months—and for good reason. Alvarez understands that in order to be considered the best, he must beat the best, and the best right now is McGregor. McGregor, however, should be just as motivated.
The press conference between the two fighters provided almost as much entertainment as may come from the main event. McGregor predicted a first round knockout right to Alvarez’s face. Alvarez responded by calling McGregor’s featherweight title a “little boy belt.”
That is part of the sport: the theatrics, the trash talk, the money. It’s certainly a different kind of entertainment. As far as the fans are concerned, McGregor and Alvarez have no respect for each other. And they will settle their disputes the old fashioned way: in the octagon.
This type of sentiment isn’t seen as much as it was in the past. Athletes are taught to win with class and to lose with dignity. That’s not the way this sport works, however—UFC thrives on disrespect. These athletes aren’t exactly people that parents want their children emulating, but that’s exactly why it’s so entertaining.
McGregor and Alvarez work on fear, intimidation and defending their honor. That’s not saying that there is no room for respect between athletes, but the way these men operate makes for an entertaining showdown. Some people love the way the sport works, some people hate it—there doesn’t seem to be much of an in-between.
The only thing that’s for sure is that this fight between McGregor and Alvarez is not to be missed.