UFC star McGregor is skilled yet over-hyped, finally meets his match

Joe Giordano || Assistant Sports Editor

UFC star Conor McGregor is known for his brash predictions and smack talk. He has become a legend on the Internet for his barbs thrown at opponents before his fights and his confidence heading into them. He has famously called himself “Mystic Mac” because he has quite frequently, in the past, predicted the round in which he would finish his opponent off. When some doubted these predictions, he would cockily rebut, “Have I been wrong yet?” Yes McGregor, you were finally wrong. You were wrong big time!

This weekend at UFC 196, McGregor was defeated by Nate Diaz via rear naked choke in the second round of their main event fight. While this was considered a giant upset to many, to me it came as no surprise. While McGregor has captivated the masses with his trash talk and quick knockouts, I would tell anyone who would listen that his success was circumstantial and that eventually his luck would run out. And on Saturday night, it
finally happened.

What bothered me the most about McGregor and the hype around him was the people who were showering him with praise were the uninformed mixed martial arts fans. I myself am an avid fan of the UFC and personally have not missed a card in over two years. Whether it is a fight between two lesser-known fighters or fights of the magnitude of Diaz versus McGregor, I can guarantee I will be tuning in and enjoying the sport I love so much. Yes, McGregor is an extremely talented individual who has the gift of promoting a fight in a way that has not been seen since the days of
Muhammad Ali.

However, the claims coming into this fight that McGregor was the pound-for-pound greatest fighter in the world were far-fetched. They mainly came from people on the Internet who watched his funny pre-fight antics and saw his wins at face value, not from people with knowledge or evidence to defend their points. While each of his fights has ended in devastating fashion, they have been mainly due to his ability to psych people out before a fight and get them off their game plan, not by his overall skills and ability. His fight with José Aldo is a perfect example of McGregor defeating a person who was much more skilled than him, but was mentally beaten before the fight started because of McGregor’s pre-fight antics.

While most of the time this worked to his advantage, Nate Diaz did not fall into McGregor’s trap. For the first time, McGregor faced someone who was not mentally broken from his antics before the fight, and McGregor suffered because of it.    

While I truly believe McGregor is a fantastic fighter who deserves credit for his skills and accomplishments, hopefully after UFC 196, the hype around McGregor as being the next coming can finally be put to bed. Even the most casual fan can now realize what I have been saying for years: McGregor is an above average fighter who can utilize mental warfare unlike anyone else, but he is not a true mixed
martial arts great.

Sophomore Joe Giordano is the Assistant Sports Editor. His email is jgiorda1@fandm.edu.

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