Joe Rogan and his latest guest on his podcast, Russell Brand, took a while to marvel at the significance of Conor McGregor.
It has become something of a cliché to marvel at the change that the world of MMA has undergone in the space of the last four years but in truth, it is simply impossible to deny the effect that Conor McGregor has had on the landscape of the sport.
Marcus Brimage was the one chosen to welcome him onto the world’s biggest stage all the way back in 2013, and though the fight only lasted a grand-total of 67 seconds, the impression left on those tuning in was a massive one.
Jump forward four short years and Conor is well and truly ruling both the UFC and the sport of MMA as a whole and while there are many who get sick at the very sight of them, he, for the most part, has endeared himself to the fans while also proving that his abilities inside the octagon are that of a true champion.
Two men who certainly seem to consider themselves as fans of the ‘Notorious’ one are the UFC’s colour-commentator Joe Rogan and, surprisingly, the latest guest on his popular podcast the Joe Rogan Experience, comedian and actor, Russell Brand.
The subject of McGregor came up mid-chat and the pair ended up discussing the Irishman’s aura and significance in-depth in what was a very interesting look at the impact he has had on both the combat sporting world and the world as a whole in the last few years.
“You’re never gonna see another one like him because he’s a unique person. He’s literally being himself. You’re gonna see a bunch of people try to mimic that and in a sense, he sort of mimicked the people who came before him, like the Chael Sonnens and the Muhammad Alis and the people that were really good at talking s**t.
“The difference is, what Conor’s been able to do is he’s the first guy in the UFC that’s been able to do that, that’s had spectacular results, and also showed his real character in losing and then coming back and winning very quickly afterwards against the same guy – the Nate Diaz fight.
“That was a very important character exposing fight because he lost a fight, he got humbled, and then he jumped right back on the horse and then wound up winning. Then he comes back and blows Eddie Alvarez out of the water to become the first two-division, concurrent champion in the sport.”
‘Win or learn’ is a mantra thrown around by both Conor and his coach, John Kavanagh quite a bit and in both his losses to Nate Diaz and his most recent shortcoming against Floyd Mayweather, Conor proved to the world that the vultures who are circling, waiting to pounce on him at any moment of adversity have the wrong mindset and that they, just like him, should maintain a healthy attitude to defeat.
To say Conor is unique is perhaps the understatement of the century but if you break down exactly what makes him special, it’s easy to see why he is the way he is.
“I think he’s a unique guy in a very – it’s almost like we don’t have a word strong enough. Unique isn’t a strong enough word.
“He’s got brilliant ability. He’s incredibly smart. He’s very innovative in his techniques and his approaches and I think he has phenomenal coaching as well.
“He’s a combination of a lot of things. He has a brilliant team. John Kavanagh, his coach, is a brilliant coach. He’s got amazing jiu-jitsu coaching and striking coaching and his mind, he understands how to apply these things.
“His ability to perform under pressure is fantastic. You saw that in the Mayweather fight. Even though he lost that fight, he hit Mayweather with some pretty good shots and he won the first three rounds against the greatest boxer of all-time. That’s extraordinary. Conor’s an extraordinary person. He has greatness.”
Greatness is a word that McGregor so often uses to describe his own achievements and while Rogan’s years with the UFC and as a combat sports fan have seen him witness the rise and fall of many great fighters, there is seemingly no doubt in his mind about where Conor falls among them.
The UFC’s main colour commentator added:
“He’s the biggest combat sport athlete not just of today, but ever. There’s no one like him.”
It’s an admittedly massive claim to make on the part of the iconic fight-caller but still, with him now just at 29 years of age, the story of the ‘Notorious’ Conor McGregor is still very much in its early days.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena