UFC 205 reached a deafening and historic conclusion in the early hours of Sunday morning as Conor McGregor delivered on his promise to become a two-weight UFC champion.
The manner in which the featherweight king dominated the lightweight champion, Eddie Alvarez, left many scrambling for superlatives.
From the moment the pair touched gloves at the beginning of round one, McGregor was almost predictive in his movement. In the eight minutes it took to dismantle the brutally tough Alvarez, the sheer magnitude of McGregor’s superiority became increasingly shocking.
When the end finally came for ‘The Underground King’, it was swift and it was brutal. Left-right, left-right – it was routine for the Irishman.
Following the fight Alvarez was gracious in his defeat, speaking honestly of his failed attempt to silence his opponent. His complimentary comments speak volume for the character of the man.
While much was made of the foul-mouthed interview given by ‘The Notorious’ to Joe Rogan immediately after his victory, McGregor too paid the utmost respect to Alvarez a little later in a post-fight interview.
The nature of MMA is a brutal one. Trash-talk, posturing, adrenaline and extremely physical, often bloody, contests. It is not for the faint-hearted. Those that participate are warriors. Then, when the dust settles, more often than not, the warring pair will show their respect of the other, as they deserve.
For those of us who have never stepped into the octagon, it might be difficult to appreciate the juxtaposition of the sentiment against the backdrop of the carnage that only seconds earlier was playing out.
It is, however, an acknowledgement by each fighter of the bravery and determination, win or lose, that they have just shared with their opponent. Magnanimous in victory and gracious in defeat, that is the true mark of a champion.
On Sunday morning, McGregor and Alvarez paid tribute to each other, no bravado, no taunts, no egos. As it should be.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
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