The stage was set for Conor McGregor to make Ultimate Fighting Championship history on Saturday Nov. 12 by his jumping a weight class and defeating Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez in order to simultaneously hold a belt in two classes. “The Notorious” did just that. McGregor recently defeated Nate Diaz in the second bout between the two in the welterweight division, as McGregor avenged his loss from their first meeting. After the victory in August, experts and fans alike were asking if the Irishman solidified himself as one of the greatest UFC fighters in the history of the sport. After this most recent fight against the reigning lightweight champion, there isn’t much room for an argument.
In a timeline that almost seems impossible, McGregor first gained weight after his featherweight title fight to move into the welterweight division for his two bouts against Diaz and is now back again at probably his most natural weight—lightweight—at 155 lbs.
For a fighter as lean and fast as McGregor, performing well at different weight divisions takes an extremely rigorous diet, countless hours of training and incredible discipline. McGregor prides himself on his dedication and his fitness regiment, and it certainly showed in this fight.
Even celebrities and athletes such as New York Giant’s wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and son of President-elect Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., were in attendance at Madison Square Garden to witness the historic moment.
One of the most notable aspects of his most recent battle against Alvarez was McGregor’s quickness and ability to dodge and land combinations. For most fighters, moving up or down a weight class means a sacrifice of some sort. McGregor, however, is not like most fighters.
He was just as quick and lethal as he’s ever been, ducking punches and landing lethal combinations on Alvarez. He knocked him down five times within the bout, tying McGregor for most in UFC history.
In the second round of the fight, McGregor landed an intense four-punch combo, knocking Alvarez to the ground where he landed two more punches. The man with the best seat in the house, referee John McCarthy, saw the distress that Alvarez was in, and rightfully ended the fight, making McGregor the first fighter in the UFC history to hold the title in two different weight classes concurrently.
He has now solidified himself as one of the greatest UFC fighters to ever participate in the sport, as well as one of the most popular and polarizing athletes in the world today. To many, especially to those in his home country of Ireland, he’s a hero. To some, he’s too vain to even be considered a hero. Whichever side you fall on, however, it can’t be denied that he is the best, because McGregor simply won’t settle for anything less.
Many experts doubt if McGregor will ever fight in the featherweight division again, given his success in the lightweight division against one of the best in the field.
The only question that should be asked now, however, is what’s next for McGregor? He’s clearly not done yet.
In a sport like his, you make a lot of enemies, and one after another, he steps up and proves that there is a reason that people thinks he’s the best—and he will continue to do so for many fights to come.