It appears as though Conor McGregor’s drawing power is after astonishingly growing, despite losing his last fight to Nate Diaz and being pulled from the UFC 200 card. The Dublin native has become the most sought after fight from 145-170lbs in MMA, and boxing apparently.
While Dana White seemed to be making a statement by cutting McGregor from the biggest card in the company’s history, it seems to have only added to The Notorious’ drawing power. Not only does McGregor have his choice of UFC fighters knocking on his door, but if Floyd Mayweather is to be taken seriously he now has the greatest boxer in history chasing the fight also.
There are many factors which helped McGregor to go from the biggest draw in the UFC to the biggest draw in combat sports after his loss to Nate Diaz. It began immediately after the fight when McGregor showed a level of humility not common place in the fight game. He broke down his loss to Diaz expertly in the post-fight press conference and remained humble as Diaz continued to throw verbal jabs.
In the aftermath, McGregor took some stick for demanding an immediate rematch but he also earned a lot of respect for wanting to go up against Diaz again straight away. When the retirement saga began, The Notorious couldn’t have known the exposure that he would get in every media outlet around the world, but have no doubt the Dubliner knew he was going to cause a stir. His marketing nous has helped him to become one of the biggest sporting stars on the planet.
So as the opponents queue up for the “money fights” and the “red panty nights”, McGregor is sitting pretty at the top of the game. While McGregor and White will still probably have to schedule a couples therapy retreat it’s clear that both men know the enigmatic McGregor is the biggest thing to have ever happened in the UFC.
A testament to this is the insistence of Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather on stealing the featherweight king for 36 minutes inside the squared circle. There are many labels to describe fights at the top level – super fights, prize fights and some are even considered spectacles but a possible Mayweather-McGregor boxing match makes all super fights feel a little more like exhibitions.
Regardless of the route The Notorious takes from this point on, he has cemented his legendary status as a pioneer of self-promotion and marketing in the fight game. His brand will live on far beyond his career and for those lucky enough to watch him fight, it’s best to just enjoy it while it lasts.
McGregor is a rare phenomenon that captivates the whole world, and he truly does hold all the cards.
Paul O’Dea, Pundit Arena
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