Conor McGregor- "I'm going to wipe out the division."
The winds of change swept through the UFC and the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas this past Saturday night. With the exclusive Reebok outfitting deal kicking off at UFC 189, and changes being made to both the UFC logo and broadcast presentation, a new era is now underway
.At the forefront of men’s MMA now stands Conor McGregor. The Dublin, Ireland native delivered on the hype as promised by becoming the interim Featherweight champion.
McGregor entered the arena draped in the colors of his home nation to the sounds of “The Foggy Dew” sung by countrywoman, Sinéad O'Connor. He left with the cheers of thousands ringing in his ears. The storyline for the “second season” of “The Conor McGregor Show” now reads as follows: José Aldo grudge match.
"So what happened was, when the pictures went out onto the internet, right, and you saw this rib down here, that was an old injury," the UFC president said at a fan Q&A on Friday at the UFC Fan Expo. "That was an old injury that was calcified white. The real injury was the bruised rib and cartilage. He had a bruised rib and cartilage. And the big problem for Aldo in taking the fight, wasn't the fight. It was making weight.
"He had to cut something like 24 pounds, and if he couldn't physically do it the way that he does it, he was afraid that he couldn't make weight," White continued. "That was really the issue. But he did not have a broken rib. It was a bruise. Every x-ray he sent out was of an old injury. What you saw right there on his body was an old injury, not a new injury.
"It wasn't UFC doctors (who cleared him), either. It was three different doctors."
-Dana White on Aldo’s alleged broken rib injury via Shaun Al-Shatti/ MMAFighting.com
In what some might consider a come from behind win after he spent almost all of the first round on his back thanks to the takedowns of Chad Mendes, McGregor silenced critics by dropping the wrestler with a left hand. “The Notorious” MacDaddy of smack-talk continued on the path to the title with a barrage that forced a stop to the bout at 4:57 of Round 2.
MMA’s continued mainstream success is evident thanks to the total gate numbers provided by MMAJunkie.com: 16,019 attendees for a record-breaking $7.2 million. Also, McGregor is at least $80,000 richer ($30,000 title contender Reebok sponsor payout and $50,000 “Performance of the Night bonus) along with his winner’s purse of $500,000. What’s next for the new champ?
The face of a fighting nation will square off against “The California Kid” Urijah Faber--as a coach on “The Ultimate Fighter: U.S. vs. Europe.” For now though, McGregor sits atop the Featherweight mountain, waiting for another challenger.
“...When Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor is ready, we’ll let you know”, White said.
“I honestly believe there is no such a thing as self-made. I believe that is a term that does not exist. For me it certainly doesn’t. The people who have been around for my whole career helped shape this moment. This night and this moment is for them.”
-Conor McGregor UFC 189 post-fight speech