And so the Irish invasion continues as The Notorious does it in the second. John Murphy tells us how it went down.
Tonight, The Notorious Conor McGregor (16-2) stormed into the Octagon to face his elder German opponent, Denis Siver (22-9). With Paddy Holohan and Cathal Pendred having already won their bouts, McGregor entered the main event hoping to make it a hat trick of victories for the Irish.
Although McGregor was the heavy favourite from the outset, there was something eerie about his opponent leading up to this fight. Siver never engaged with McGregor’s smack talk. He was stone faced and almost had the look of a Bond villain. There was a calmness in his eyes that suggested he was capable of surprising the ultra confident Irish man but having stated before the bout that he was out “to obliterate the whole division,” McGregor once again backed up the smack talk.
The first round saw the Irishman connecting frequently with a number of left jabs and high kicks and Siver looked immediately to be out of his depth. The smaller German tried on several occasions to take McGregor to the floor but could never quite complete a take down. In the final seconds, The Notorious had the Russian born German pinned against the cage and it literally was a case of saved by the bell that saw Siver survive the first round.
There was talk before the fight of Siver’s low centre of gravity, of his much improved wrestling ability and it had been frequently mentioned that he had the best spinning back kick in the division. None of this was evident in the bout and as soon as the second round commenced, it was clear that the older fighter simply would not last. McGregor’s unique and dynamic fighting style was simply too much for his seasoned opponent and it was once again the lethal left that Siver struggled with so much in the first round that put him to the mat in the second. McGregor followed with a barrage of strikes as the German tried in vain to cover himself from the floor forcing the referee to stop the bout.
And that was that. Conor did not celebrate. Instead, he climbed the Octagon and ran screaming at the onlooking Featherweight Champion of the World. McGregor had to be held back by several members of security as Jose Aldo, meanwhile, stood and laughed.
Upon returning to the ring, McGregor was interviewed. “They say I’m all talk,” he said. “But they never mention the skill or the technique because they know I own that.”
Aldo, who was interviewed soon after responded by claiming, “he is a joke to me so all I do is laugh at him.”
The Brazilian Champion may indeed say this to the cameras but given the total annihilation that McGregor had just performed in front of his very eyes, there is no doubt that Aldo will not be taking his next opponent lightly.
Many have questioned whether McGregor truly deserves the unprecedented hype that he has caused, but is it now safe to say that we are witnessing something really special with this Irish fighter? Something once in a generation? Are the comparisons with the likes of Muhammad Ali justified at this point in time?
It is probably still too early to say and McGregor really needs to take home a world title to really match what he envisages for himself. However, the attention that he continues to gather is unlike anything that has been seen before in the sport of MMA and tonight’s performance was a further validation that The Notorious is much more than just a smack talker.
After the weigh in on Saturday Conor was already ahead of the gathered fans and media. He wasn’t thinking about Denis Siver, he was focused on the Brazilian World Champion. “That’s 145,” he said. “That’s championship weight. Tell Jose I’m coming.”
Well Jose, we’re telling you now. He’s coming. Here’s a little tip for you, don’t laugh when you step into the Octagon with your next challenger. He’s notorious and it won’t end well.