The UFC has had some tough times recently when it comes retaining its champions. In the last two years, the UFC has lost three of its most dominant and longest reigning titleholders in Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre and, most recently, Jon “Bones” Jones. These champions have helped shape the modern mixed martial arts world as many fans know it, so it comes as no surprise that the UFC is prepping someone to take their place. Someone with charisma and gusto. Someone who will thrive as a champion and will sell out pay-per-view after pay-per-view. That man fights at UFC 189 on July 11, but his name is not Jose Aldo, the current featherweight champion. Instead, his name is “The Notorious” Conor McGregor.

Let’s face it. The UFC has been building up to this fight since the day that McGregor made his Octagon debut. His stage presence is unquestionably unique. His mouth is brash and bold. The UFC actually helped promote a six-part series called Notorious. It seems as though the company is prepping its seven-time defending featherweight champion Aldo for failure and making way for McGregor. But why would the UFC do that to one of its most dominant champions? The answer is actually quite simple: McGregor is Chael Sonnen 2.0.

Everyone remembers Sonnen right? As a fighter, Sonnen was a man who had a way with words that was uncharacteristic of any modern-day fighters. He essentially talked his way right into a title shot against a man many considered — and still consider — to be the greatest of all time. He made promises that he was going to defeat Anderson Silva, the reigning middleweight champion at the time, at UFC 117. Those were promises that many fans wrote off as words of a lunatic, another fighter who the great Anderson Silva would add to his win column with ease. But Sonnen gave Silva the toughest fight of his entire career. He took Silva down at will and scored with some beautiful ground-and-pound before getting submitted with less than two minutes left in the fifth round. Sonnen went on to defeat Brian Stann and earned another shot at Silva at UFC 148. He was stopped much sooner the second time around and that was the end of that.

McGregor will fill the same shoes Sonnen filled as an outspoken self-promoter who can sell fights with both his words and his performances.

Fans want to hear what McGregor has to say. They want to know what he is doing. At a press conference back in March — in Dublin no less — McGregor physically snatched the title belt from Aldo and proclaimed himself as the “King of Dublin.” It was unprecedented and the fans ate it up.

McGregor has been disrespectful, cocky and arrogant toward the current champion. And fans are watching. He is filling seats and cashing checks. McGregor is exactly what the UFC wants.

There have been a dozen or so commercials leading up to UFC 189 for the past few months, completely overshadowing a heavyweight title fight at UFC 188 in Mexico between Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum. Promos were running long before UFC 187, and it wasn’t until the broadcast of UFC 187 that casual fans even knew that the next pay-per-view was not Aldo vs. McGregor.

The UFC is having to rebuild its champions, and what better time to set up the most brash one yet. When the UFC put a lot into the “Welcome to the Show” campaign, coinciding with Anthony “Showtime” Pettis’s title defense against Rafael dos Anjos, its plans backfired. The UFC was expecting Pettis to be one of its golden boys, especially since Pettis was the first mixed martial artist to be featured on a Wheaties box. Now the UFC is on round two with McGregor.

A lot is at stake. If Aldo is successful and defeats the outspoken Irishman, then the UFC will experience a case of déjà vu. Aldo has received less coverage for this fight than any other champion with his amount of exposure. The UFC is building Aldo to lose, and McGregor will reap all of the benefits.

Take a look at some of the UFC’s current champions. Aldo, Ronda Rousey, Demetrious Johnson and Chris Weidman have defended their belts at least three times. Champions such as Velasquez, Daniel Cormier, Robbie Lawler, dos Anjos and T.J. Dillashaw have only defended their belt once or twice, if at all. Furthermore, the UFC has a flyweight champion who is struggling in the marketing department. The welterweight title has changed hands twice in the time since St-Pierre walked away from the sport, and the future of the light heavyweight division currently resides in the hands of Cormier.

McGregor is the future of the featherweight division. He is the one the UFC wants as its champion and star. He’s the one the promotion will secretly be pulling for at UFC 189.

About The Author

Matt Quiggins
Staff Writer

Matt Quiggins has been covering the sport of MMA since 2010. He was a contributing writer for Ultimate MMA Magazine from 2010-2014. Alongside his writing, Matt is also a photographer and frequents local amateur MMA events to support his community. He has recently started training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and currently resides in the Tampa Bay Area.

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  • THF

    The UFC didnt fund his 6 part series. He produced it himself and pitched it without UFC backing. It aired on RTE, the national broadcaster here in Ireland, it was a huge success and then he took it to America. Just putting it out there….

    • Mike

      This just shows you how much false information gets out there that people repeat and how unreliable the media is

  • Mitt Zombie

    Conor is a little twit, he turns the UFC into WWE and I don’t want to watch that.

    • warren

      Conor will win be the first round garrontt

    • Adam Schooler

      How does he turn it into WWE?

  • wolftongue

    Reality will set in when the first round starts for McGregor
    and the world champion Jose Aldo starts to use his knowledge of the MMA
    Conor better bring his lunch.

  • Allen Gibson

    Conor will lose fairly quickly, he cant really fight that well, misses every kick, only wins against low rankers, Conor will regret going in he ring with him and quick.

    • Adam Schooler

      Can’t fight that well? He has easily dispatched everyone that has been put in front of him. His missed kicks are more used to mix up his striking.

      You know who else only beat low rankers and got 2 shots at Aldo?… Chad Mendes. Until he just beat Lamas his highest ranked UFC wins were against the #8 and #9 ranked guys in the division.

  • citizenrich

    Mcgregor is a fish.

    Aldo rolls and subs him in 2 or 3. I wonder if Aldo lets go?

    • Adam Schooler

      That would be Aldo’s best bet… Conor’s boxing game is better than Aldo’s anyhow.

      • citizenrich

        That’s awesome. Unfortunately for conner, this ain’t boxing.

        Apropos of (boxing); this fight reminds me exactly of the Hatton – Mayweather fight way back when. Half of Manchester bet their dole and moms tea set on Hatton. His fanatics were claiming that Hatton studied the “art of movement” and had feats of strength never known to boxing (hardest punch ever, etc.). This BS carried over to the odds – to the point where I was able to lay down (2) large bets for Mayweather as a dog! Lol Think about that. Now think about this fight. Same chit.

        Aldo @ even money is a joke and you know it.

        • Adam Schooler

          And unfortunately this isn’t the Mayweather/Hatton fight either…
          I see McGregor being able to hang with Aldo. I’d actually like to see the fight go to the mat. I’m curious as to how good Conor’s ground game is.

          • citizenrich

            McGregor can more than hang with Aldo standing up; he’s a better pure boxer with excellent technique, especially for MMA.

            From what I understand, the last time CM spent any time on the mat, he wound up having his knee explode on him. He claims it happened when he was trying to bridge. He’s not good on the mat. Period.

            McGregor is a danger to Aldo for the first 10 minutes. I bet he puts Jose in a little trouble. If Aldo survives round 1 and tgen his odds of winning increase to 80 or 90%.

          • Adam Schooler

            So you’re basing his ground game not being good based on one incident?

            You’re referring to the Holloway fight I assume since you brought up the injury, (I’m not sure you’ve even seen the fight due to saying “From what I understand.”) but if you rewatch that fight Conor was dominant everywhere.
            The whole last half of the fight took place on the ground for the most part and Conor scored a handful of TD attempts and kept complete control against Max.(Who was being praised for his BJJ as well.)

            If you didn’t know he was injured you would have never known. Using an injury as a basis for saying he’s no good on the mat is ridiculous. By that logic Anderson Silva sucks at leg kicks because he suffered an injury.

          • citizenrich

            I’m trying to handicap the fight and there’s very little information about McGregor. For example: We know that Aldo can take a punch (has a good chin).

            Can you tell me about McGregor’s chin?

            I can only judge McGregor off the information available. Based on the Holloway fight, he’s not good on the mat.

          • Adam Schooler

            What made him not good on the mat in that fight?

            Was it him always being in the dominant position?
            Was it the gaining mount on more than one occasion?
            Was it the handful of successful TD attempts?

            I mean if he looked horrible in that fight I’d agree, but he did everything right.

            As far as his chin goes I’d have to assume he’s taken good punches. He has boxing experience before his MMA career. I can’t be completely sure though.
            Yes Aldo can take a punch, but that won’t last forever either. Aldo has been in many more wars than McGregor and taken more damage. He’s still young, but the body can only take so much damage.

          • citizenrich

            It’s just my subjective opinion – he’s not smooth on the ground. I was a collegiate wrestler as my boy will be starting next year (saving pops 225 grand++ at a very esteemed US school /humble-brag). I have a keen and critical eye for wrestling. Conversely; I know jack chit about boxing which is why I generally defer to those who do.

            I don’t gamble much but when I do it’ll happen because I see too much variance to ignore. This is a hype (emotional) fight so it’s got my attention. There’s an entire nation rooting and betting for their man. A lot of people are having the time of their life!

            I’m picking Aldo to win and hedging my bet with a prop wager that CM may stop the fight before the end of round 2.

            I’m just parlaying some of the easy money I made on the Weidman – Belfort beat down. Chris was a clinic coach for my son and one of my best friends was his teammate @ NCC. I’m emotionally attached to his success so I know exactly how a lot of Conor’s fans are feeling right now.

            Full digression: I hope Aldo and McGregor make weight. It’s a wildcard but I’ve read that Aldo has had problems sucking weight lately…

  • Michael Schechter

    Why do writers always center their columns around the hype? Why can’t a champion be true to their sport? The disrespect and the tomfoolery McGregor exhibits is worthy of a cartoon character. Children adore this. I want Aldo to teach him a lesson and make him tap to show he’s a coward and embarrass him. Punks like McGregor need to be counseled. I agree, McGregor hasn’t fought any true contenders yet. Remember the cream always rises to the top! Aldo will prevail folks.

    • jules

      Good comment

    • Adam Schooler

      Even Aldo’s previous opponents didn’t fight any true contenders.
      Mendes?… Nope.
      Edgar?… Nope.
      Lamas… He fought Cub so maybe, but Cub has never been able to hang with top guys.
      Chan Sung Jung?… Nope.
      Florian?… Nope.

      • Michael Schechter

        Seriously Adam? Really?? For starters, the UFC ranks him the best pound for pound fighter on the planet. That means #1…because he hasn’t fought anyone??? Urijah Faber, Chand Mendes, Frankie Edgar, The Korean Zombie, Kenny Florian not true contenders?? It’s laughable…you’re talking out of turn…

        • Adam Schooler

          I didn’t say anything about Aldo not being the p4p best… I’m talking about the guys that have faced Aldo. What great FW’s did Mendes, Edgar, KZ etc fight before getting a shot at Aldo? I’m not saying those guys aren’t good contenders… Just that they didn’t have to run through a gauntlet of high level competition in order to get their title shots.

          • Michael Schechter

            Not entirely true…Faber, Florian and Edgar have all fought contenders and had title shots. Not relevant unless you’re comparing them to McGregor. So who has he really fought?

          • Adam Schooler

            Edgar was given a title shot in his FW debut after losing 2 fights.
            Florian had one FW fight before getting Aldo.
            Mendes didn’t have to fight a top 5 guy until after he had 2 shots at Aldo.

            I’m talking about what these guys have done in the FW division, not past accolades.

            I don’t see how people can complain about Conor’s wins. He has a win over Poirier who was ranked #5 at the time. At the time McGregor got his title shot he was the most deserving in the division.

          • Michael Schechter

            I don’t have a problem with McGregor getting a title shot although I think Edgar deserves the opportunity. I just think McGregor is going to lose. He’s overrated and one dimensional. If Aldo kicks him or takes him down it’ll be all over.

          • Adam Schooler

            Assuming he’s one dimensional because we haven’t seen him on the ground? He trains in Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Capoeira, Kickboxing and BJJ (Brown belt)… I’m not sure how He’s overrated when he has a 17-2 MMA record with 15 finishes coming by KO or TKO.

          • john

            Adam definitely knows what he’s talking about. All everybody talks about is how Aldo’s been champion for 10 years and that’s why he’ll beat Mcgregor. People tend to fall into this trance with long time champions thinking they’re invincible because of the length of time they have the belt. The past doesn’t matter in this game. It’s about what u bring on fight day and who ur fighting. The fact is Aldo has never faced anyone like Mcgregor period. Connor has the size advantage, he’s the better striker, he’s most likely gonna be stronger, and he’s a southpaw. I mentioned southpaw because Aldo tends to have a harder time striking with southpaws. Check out the Florian fight u’ll see what I mean. People also are talking about Connor getting the title fight too soon and the ufc purposely keeping wrestlers away from him. We’re not in the 90’s anymore where wrestlers can come in and powerslam everybody and ground n pound em out. This is the new age of mma. Just because ur a good wrestler doesnt mean jack anymore because most fighters now have good takedown defense and ground game. You have to have a good standup base for wrestling to be effective and guys like Mendez and Edgar won’t be able to stand with Connor. Again he’s got the size advantage and even if he gets taken down they wont be able to keep him down. Connor also has a ground game, he choked out a bjj black belt to win the title in the other organization. Connor is no joke and he’s definitely not all talk.

          • Adam Schooler

            An elite striker will outmatch a wrestler in most circumstances as well… With as many wrestlers as Aldo has faced how many have had big success with their wrestling? To wrestle you need to close distance which means getting in striking range.

          • Ames Howard

            We saw him on the ground in his last fight. Are you really gonna claim he is not one dimensional now. He begged Herb to stand the fight up cause he didnt know what to do. Rogan even pointed it out.

          • Adam Schooler

            I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt due to not having a training camp that was focused on a high class wrestler and suffering an injury during his training camp. He is a brown belt BJJ practitioner and I’ve seen him do ground work before… Mendes was also complaining about the elbows McGregor was beating his head in with when they were perfectly legal. I found that whole exchange to be kind of humorous myself… It was like they both forgot basic MMA rules. lol

          • Ames Howard

            Mendes has wins over Swanson,Lamas and Guida.
            Frankie Edgar is a former world champion a weight class up!!!!!
            Lamas has wins over Dennis Bermotiz and Swanson
            Florian is a former #1 contender a weight class up.
            KZ has wins over Poier and mark Hominck.

            Learn what your talking about kid. Aldo got what he has through hard work. Conor by being Irish like Uncle Dana and kissing the bosses ass. There is a reason the fighters in the back do not respect him.

            Conor won fair and square and has earned his shot. However it was pretty obvious with a full training camp Chad beats him. After watching that fight I think I could go take a dump and it probably would have more grappling skills then Conor.

            There is not one aspect of MMA that Conor is better then Aldo at. He has a punchers chance and that is it.

          • Adam Schooler

            That’s fine and all Ames… I know who they have wins over and I never said they were bad contenders (if you read my previous comments.) I never said Aldo didn’t work hard to get what he has… It’s pretty obvious that he has.

            Conor got what he has by earning it… In his first 6 UFC fights he has beaten 3 top 10 competitors (2 of them being top 5.) who else in the FW division has done that in order to get a shot at Aldo?… Mendes’ last shot was gotten beating the #8 and #9 ranked guys in the division (Guida and Lentz.) He didn’t face a top 5 featherweight (Lamas) until after losing 2 fights with Aldo… Edgar was handed a title shot at Aldo and has since beat one top 5 featherweight… Swanson. McGregor has done more than Mendes, Edgar, Lamas, Florian, KZ have in the featherweight division to get a crack at Aldo.

            McGregor has done more to earn a title shot than anyone else… I agree his ground game didn’t look great. Word is that he suffered an MCL injury during camp while training with Rory McDonald… SO he was unable to train any wrestling… Besides that… You do realize that McGregor would do much better with a full camp as well. He was training for Aldo the entire time… Not the best wrestler in the division. (arguably) McGregor did fine on the ground in my opinion. He didn’t waste energy and waited for an opportunity to escape. He also stuffed 3 out of 7 takedowns… With no wrestling camp.
            The fact that he got taken down at all doesn’t bother me at all… He was fighting Chad Mendes, he was going to get taken down… To think he wouldn’t is just being delusional.

          • Ames Howard

            He got a world title shot off of beating Denis Siver. Who I think was #9 in the world at the time and now #15. Holloway was not even ranked at the time they fought. Bramlage??? Come on and he beat Diego Brando who had a short notice.

            He beat Poier with a shot that landed in the back of the head.

            Even Dana said the reason Conor gets this shot is by default cause frankly Aldo has beaten everyone else.

            Conor getting a title shot speaks to Aldo greatness, not Conor’s sorry.

            MCL injury? Of course the whole MMA world is suppose to believe that. But yet he could stand on one leg. Plant his foot,spin and kick. Nah man his takedown defense is terrible.

            He was getting picked up lifted in the air and slammed Brock Lesnor style.

            When Conor coach said he will take Aldo down and submit him I about laughed.

            We are also supposed to believe Aldo wasn’t hurt even though he released a x-ray showing his broken rib and they let the doctor examine him do a interview explaining it.

            Dana just said it wasnt hurt and released zero proof.

            He was fighting Chad? How many submissions did he go for– 0. How many sweeps did he go for–0. He even got crucifixed and we almost saw BJ Penn Matt Hughes again. How many times could he get back to his feet on his own. Only time Conor could do anything is if Chad went for something first.

            He begged Herb to stand the fight up cause he 100% had no clue what to do. Even Rogan pointed it out.

            Your clearly a fan and looking at this through rose pedaled glasses.

            He has a punchers chance and that’s it…and even that is not very good.

            Chad has fought them both, when asked which one would win he made it clear “Aldo is a different beast man.”

          • Adam Schooler

            Lol… You’re going to complain about who McGregor fought, yet Mendes got his 2nd shot at Aldo after beating the ranked #9 and #8 guys at the highest?… Siver was ranked #10, Poirier was ranked #5 and Mendes was ranked #1… What they are ranked now doesn’t mean a thing… Only at the time of the fight… And of course he fought a few unranked opponents… He had just gotten to the UFC. That’s what typically happens. Lol

            The shot he landed on Poirier didn’t land on the back of the head… I’ve watched it multiple times… It initially hit him behind the ear. Also an illegal blow to the back of the head has to be precise in order for it to be illegal… Below the nape of the neck and in a center line on the back of the skull. Anything outside of that is legal.

            Mendes is arguably the best wrestler in the division, or Edgar… Conor getting taken down was going to happen… Mendes has taken down Aldo before so it’s not like it was some big shocker… I’m also a fan of Mendes… He’s a great athlete and is a class act.

            I think you’re over exaggerating a bit with the whole “He begged Herb to stand it up.” bit, but like I said… Both men seemed like they forgot the rules when in that exchange. Mendes apparently doesn’t know what deems an elbow from the back illegal.

            The MCL injury was supposedly healed a few weeks before the fight. There’s obviously no physical proof, but a few fighters eluded to it as well… DC being one of them.

            How does Conor getting a title shot not speak to his greatness? He’s earned his title shot more than anyone else has. Edgar (who was gifted a title shot.), Mendes, Lamas etc… None of them have beaten more than one top 5 guy… Edgar and Lamas beat Swanson. A guy that has never been able to hang with a top wrestler… Mendes beat Lamas, but that was only AFTER he had already gotten 2 shots at Aldo… Lamas was his first top 5 win since coming to the UFC.

            Of course he has a punchers chance… He’s been punching his way through the division and has only gone past the 2nd round once with Holloway.

            And do you really expect Mendes to say that Conor is going to beat Aldo? That would pretty much be him saying that Conor is going to do what he couldn’t… It wouldn’t make him look any better.

          • Adam Schooler

            It’s just ridiculous to say that Mendes would beat him with a full training camp… Mendes wouldn’t be the only one getting a full training camp either. Both men would… Even without a camp a high ranked MMA fighter like Mendes should not be gassing after one round… It was the 10 or so body shots in the opening round that did him in. I mean with Aldo’s track record of pulling out of fights, Mendes should have been ready to stand in for Aldo anyway… He was the #1 ranked featherweight.

          • Ames Howard

            When you are losing a fight to a guy that had 2 weeks and you had a full training camp and we have seen him push a much more violent pace when he has had a full camp against the real champ who has far more violent kicks then you. It’s safe to say it played a factor… especially when almost everyone thinks your losing the fight tell you he got tired.

            yep it was the ten body shots that did it…. thats why he was still able to take him down and hit him for several minutes in the 2nd and go for a submission after the first. Keep drinking the Conor Kool aid.

            I train man and a former teammate of mine just fought Duffy in the ufc who beat Conor. There is a big difference between being in fight shape and being in shape. No one can stay in fight shape all year round, you will be overtraining and your body will break down.

          • Adam Schooler

            There are plenty of examples of a guy losing a fight and then winning when it matters… Sonnen vs Silva is the biggest I can think of. Conor got the TKO… That’s really all that matters.

            Again… Chad is arguably the best wrestler in the division and is fighting a guy that

            1: Isn’t a wrestler.
            2: Didn’t have a training camp dedicated to fighting a wrestler. He was also unprepared on 2 weeks notice, yet still took the fight.

            You can run the whole “2 weeks notice” thing into the ground, but the fact is that neither guy was fully prepared… Yet McGregor still stuffed 3 of 7 takedown attempts. I can only imagine that rate would have been better had he had a camp that was focused on a wrestling opponent.

            Mendes also only scored one TD after the first round. Conor stuffed the other 2 attempts in the 2nd. to think those body kicks had no effect is just ridiculous. Teeps to the body and spinning back kicks to the chest is going to give you problems. If those kicks never happened I say Mendes wouldn’t have been drained like he was.

  • the truth will set you free

    Cause he’s white and white folk are finally in reality that people of color are the dominant race especially blacks in every sport and that why racism is at a high .here they enslave black folk for hundreds of year did what they wanted and at the end of the day the slave was more man then he can ever be and his white woman validated that now with our dominance it like I enslave this nigga now I got to live with fact he a better being physically that why they all over the world look for a better white boy and our president is the truth that in the bible THE LAST WILL Be fIRST and the police shooting are sign of his weakness white boy your days are number and mcgregor going to get his ass woped with out the steriod you let him take to feel dominance that not there go get a gun that the only way you’re a man and white girl got good head realtalk

  • TruNYC

    Aldo is a class act. I like Connor but will never root against Aldo.

  • Ronnie Ray Ritchie

    Let’s all hope Aldo wipes the mat with McGregor’s carcass.

  • Oneblkeye Obe

    I truly hope Aldo sticks a foot, fist, elbow & wrench into Dana’s plan for a Conor FW title. And that Conor will be forced to face the all the men he managed to tip toe, & side step around with the bosses help, maybe then I can give Conor his proper respect.

    • Adam Schooler

      Tell me some of Aldo’s other opponents that didn’t tip toe and side step to get a title shot.

      • Oneblkeye Obe

        Feel free to do the leg work friend I was dealing with the article in direct relation to Conor, Aldo, & the UFC.

        • Adam Schooler

          Edgar got a shot coming off 2 loses.
          Mendes got 2 shots while only beating ranked 8 and 9 fighters at the highest.
          Chan Sung Jung got a shot without beating and top guys.
          Florian had one fight before getting a shot.

          Aldo’s previous title contenders didn’t have to do a lot to get their shots either, so to say Conor tip toed around any of the top guys to get a shot is kind of silly imo. He’s done just as much as any other guy that’s had the chance to face Aldo.

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