Conor McGregor’s most recent opponent and victim, Jose Aldo, stated last month that he felt the Irishman had been given too much room to “grow” by the UFC. This, Aldo added, had resulted in McGregor accumulating a great deal of power within the promotion.
“Today he’s playing the game, now he’s the boss,” said the frustrated ex-featherweight champion.
Aldo’s assertion that “The Notorious” one has cultivated an unprecedented level of sway certainly isn’t without merit. The fact that McGregor was allowed to jump up to lightweight and immediately into a title fight, while maintaining possession of the featherweight strap illustrates quite clearly that the Straight Blast Gym product is playing by a different set of rules than his peers.
In the last couple of days further proof of McGregor’s influence on the company brass has emerged.
Speaking on Washington D.C radio program The Grant and Danny Show, UFC president Dana White made the admission that the Dublin native’s press conference rant regarding the original UFC 197 poster, in which he questioned why his 145lb belt wasn’t pictured, had hit home.
“Conor made his argument, ‘This is a superfight. I’m a -pound champion. He’s the -pound champion. My belt should be represented even though I’m not defending my belt'” said White. “And I said, ‘You know what? You’re right, Conor. All right, we’ll do it”.
When it was decided that the show would be renamed UFC 196, in the aftermath of the Cain Velasquez/Fabricio Werdum injury saga, the offending poster had to be changed anyway, but the new version depicts not one but two titleholders.
“We actually switched the poster and they’ve both got their belts and it’s champion vs. champion”.
“It’s a superfight: 45 vs. 55 for the 55-pound title”.
Transciption via MMAFighting
Here is the updated poster for the March 5th event.
— Heidi Fang (@HeidiFang) February 3, 2016
It isn’t exactly a major alteration and neither man’s belt is particularly prominent, but regardless of how minor it may appear, many will see this as symbolic of something greater.