With the rumors swirling that McGregor v. Aldo, and Ronda Rousey might be fighting on the same card, I thought it would be interesting to take a dive into the UFC and explore the new era of fighter. With boxing on the decline, the UFC has seen a rise in popularity, and it is thanks to fighters like Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey who have begun to transcend the sport.
Fighters in today’s UFC are more versatile and skilled than ever before. They are masters of all facets of mixed martial arts, and we as the fans are lucky to be able to witness this era first hand. It is no longer the UFC of old where a fighter can choose to be a master of just one aspect of the sport. If that was the case today, that fighter would find himself in a world of trouble the second he stepped into the octagon.
Never before have we seen fighters so smooth and skilled as bantamweight champ, TJ Dillashaw, who just recently picked apart the great Renan Barao for the second time in route to another title defense. And lightweight Anthony Pettis, whose mix of traditional martial arts along with unpredictable cart wheel kicks and wall runs leaves fans in awe. Every month fighters are putting on spectacles for the masses, and the level of competition could not be higher.
Now it wouldn’t be a true UFC article if I did not talk about two very important people to the sport, Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey. Ronda Rousey is fresh off of another title defense in which she knocked out her opponent in just 34 seconds. Her last three fights alone have not seen her opposition make it out of the first minute.
It’s no surprise that Rousey is without a doubt the baddest female on the planet, but is she too good? No other fighter has even come close to hurting her, let alone beating her. She dismantles her opponents using a number of weapons, her go to being her world class judo.
The UFC desperately needs a woman who can come up and really challenge Ronda. That is the only thing missing from Ronda’s legacy. An epic battle with a worthy fighter, but as of right now that doesn’t look too likely happen.
He has had multiple fights with fellow fighter, Miesha Tate, but Ronda has won each fight with no problem. The only fighter close to Ronda is Cris “Cyborg” Justino, but she fights in another organization at a different weight than Ronda, and the two have yet to agree to face each other. This would be an MMA fans dream, but Cyborg has refused to drop weight to fight Ronda so it might be a while before we ever get to see this matchup.
However, Rousey’s continued success has made her a household name around the country, and for a sport that is still on the rise, it is extremely valuable to have an ambassador such as her. She is smart, talented, and knows how to draw a crowd. But if we’re going to talk about drawing a crowd them we must touch upon “the notorious”, Conor McGregor.
McGregor is an Irish fighter who, over the last two and a half years, has exploded into the MMA world in a way that has never been seen before. If you have not heard of Conor McGregor please listen because he is a special kind of fighter.
To this point in his career he is 6-0 in the UFC and is the current interim featherweight champion of the world. He claimed the belt with his second round TKO of challenger Chad Mendes at UFC 189 back in July. Mendes found out first-hand the kind of power that McGregor has with his punches, and the creativity that he has in his kicks, especially to the body.
In the cage, McGregor has to be one of the most skilled and entertaining fighters to watch. He has a tremendous mix of boxing and tae kwon do, and his long reach makes him a nightmare for opposing 145 lb featherweights to fight. However, it is not necessarily for his fighting ability that people watch him. It’s for his mouth.
McGregor might be the best trash talker in all of sports right now. From the minute the fight is scheduled, to the moment it ends, he is in his opponents face telling them exactly how he is going to dismantle them. (Plus his Irish accent makes everything sound awesome.) He carries himself with such confidence and swagger, and it absolutely translates to the cage. If McGregor was a bum he would be laughed out of the league, but he backs up every bit of trash talk with great performances.
His next fight will almost certainly be against the pound for pound number one, Brazilian, Jose Aldo. These two were set to fight back in July, but Aldo suffered an injury during camp and was replaced with Chad Mendes.
Aldo has been the king of the featherweight division for many years, and has defeated many different styled opponents, but none have had the confidence that McGregor does. McGregor will be Aldo’s biggest test, but if you listen to McGregor, he’ll tell you the fights already over. The two have played head games with one another for about six months now. They both dislike every ounce of the other, and if the fight does in fact go down as scheduled it would absolutely be the biggest draw in UFC history. Add on top of the fact that Ronda Rousey might be fighting on the same card, forget about it.
This is a great time to be an MMA fan, and as the inaugural UFC article on this site I just wanted to touch upon some of the important people in the sport. If you haven’t really followed the sport, now is a good time to start. There are so many polarizing fighters, and they are only becoming more skilled by the day.
By Jake Cianci