The UFC has caught on fire these past few years, essentially making MMA the new boxing. There has been a huge drive to the sport as it has attracted talent from all over the world, as well as celebrity. Yet, for all of it’s fame and popularity it had not tapped into the center of the sport’s world (sorry L.A.), New York, until this weekend. After being banned in the state of New York for the past decade, UFC 205 was approved and ready to go for the Empire State. It featured a phenomenal card that included the likes of Tyron Woodley, Chris Weidman, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Meisha Tate, and of course the Fighting Irish himself, Conor McGregor. He became the first fighter to hold two different belts at the same time in the history of the UFC.
Conor isn’t a quiet man. He came into New York with a Rolls Royce that had his face on it. He spent all week celebrating some great times in NY history (whether wearing Joe Frazier’s red turtleneck and white mink to Biggie’s Coogie sweater), and verbally assaulting all those that challenged his greatness. Never has this sport at least seen such a colorful character, and even beyond Money Mayweather, never has fighting seen one since Ali. A man who will take all challengers, New York turned out to be the perfect stage for Conor. As exciting as most of this card was, we all waited for Eddie Alvarez to hold his own versus Conor. After Woodley got that bizarre draw (a majority, letting him hold on to his belt), Yoel Romero shocking Weidman, and Meisha Tate losing and subsquently retiring, we got the fight of the night.
Conor himself is a show, fighting fiercely with his fists as does his mouth. After him and Eddie almost sparred at the press conference Conor promised he would finish him up in one round or be nice and keep him into the second. To be fair, Conor kept his word. After dispatching barrage after barrage, Eddie was promptly TKO’d in the second round, quieting much of the hate attributed to Conor and ending any talk of him losing his touch. As every post fight interview with Joe Rogan is amazing, Conor didn’t disappoint. He made sure to let everyone know that “I want to apologize..to absolutely nobody”, before being given his second belt. After announcing he was having a child with his long time girlfriend, he demanded a stake in the UFC. Can you blame him? We have not had a draw in MMA ever, even if you count George St. Pierre and Brock Lesnar. This man is not only on fire, but one hell of a fighter. The UFC needed this and so did fighting. The sport of fighting has become a technical sport that has lost it’s showmanship in so many ways, especially now that Floyd is wrapping up his career. People want the story and the struggle to really appreciate the beatdowns, and what a story this is.