Potentially the biggest superstar in the sporting world today, it’s easy to forget that it’s just two years since Conor McGregor headlined his first UFC PPV event. On July 11, 2015, McGregor defeated Chad Mendes at UFC 189.
For followers of ‘The Notorious’, it has truly been a crazy two years. Since this date in 2015, McGregor has captured both interim and undisputed UFC featherweight titles.
He has knocked out the pound-for-pound number one in just 13 seconds. He has fought in a staggering three weight classes, bounced back from defeat and become the first ever two-division world champion.
Whatever your opinion of McGregor, the man has achieved so much in such a little amount of time. He is a truly unique human being.
But how different were things two years ago? Well, at this point, McGregor was still just the joker in many people’s eyes. None more so than Chad Mendes.
When Jose Aldo pulled out of his world title defence at UFC 189, Mendes fancied his chances of halting McGregor’s momentum.
Needless to say, Conor McGregor strongly disagreed. Fearless as always, the change of opponent had zero effect on the Irish man and the event remained intact.
For the first time in his career, Conor McGregor was set to headline a UFC pay-per-view event.
Not only was this going to be the biggest occasion of the now lightweight champion’s career, it was also marked as his first time taking on a specialised wrestler.
This was what the UFC had supposedly been protecting McGregor from. Yet, here we were and questions would be answered.
When the event finally came to fruition, UFC fans were not left disappointed.
The co-main event between Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald turned out to be one of the greatest fights of all time.
But for Irish fans, the main event was truly special. Sung in spectacularly by Sinéad O’Connor, McGregor appeared to take the whole occasion in his stride.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Conor McGregor however, Mendes’ wrestling did pose issues. Though this can be partially attributed to a knee-injury held by McGregor.
After an extremely dominant second round for the American, Mendes took a chance at attempting a guillotine. This would turn out to become a hugely costly move for ‘Money’.
This failed submission attempt allowed McGregor back to his feet and from there he wouldn’t look back.
A late flurry of hits was capped off by the famous left hand of Conor McGregor, and when Herb Dean stopped the fight, we saw a first ever Irish UFC champion.
In rather uncharacteristic circumstances, we saw a highly emotional Conor McGregor post-fight. Tears emerged from the SBG fighter’s eyes as he was crowned interim champion of the world.
After years of tough work, and at times struggles, everything the Lucan raised fighter had dreamed of had come true.
Two years after the Mendes win, McGregor takes part in a press conference with upcoming opponent Floyd Mayweather.
Everything ‘Mystic Mac’ has predicted has come to fruition. Who knows where Conor McGregor will be two years on from now.
Kevin Daly, Pundit Arena
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