Following his heartfelt yet well thought out response to Floyd Mayweather’s left field comments about the Irishman, Conor McGregor has proven once again he is the breathe of fresh air both the UFC and combat sports have been crying out for.
Since the almost-retirement of Georges St Pierre, the decline of Anderson Silva and the return to wrestling of Brock Lesnar, the UFC has been short of a male star to bank on drawing million buys plus pay-per-views.
Megastar Ronda Rousey has been the organisation’s most bankable star for the past two years however she can only fight three or four times a year.
John Jones personal problems and the fact that the Heavyweight championship has been hot potatoed around the top contenders as of late means that the UFC has been further weakened in terms of pay-per-view draws.
Step forward the ultra-confident, trash talking, fast finishing Irishman.
McGregor is undefeated in his seven UFC contests, including six finishes. He has wins over Diego Brandao, Dennis Siver, Chad Mendes and the former pound for pound best in the business in Jose Aldo.
Despite his incredible resume and the belt that hands proudly over his shoulder, it’s the personality displayed by the current UFC Featherweight Champion that has attracted millions of fans worldwide.
Typically fans don’t take too kindly to trash talking types. Floyd Mayweather, despite being 49-0 is overwhelmingly disliked.
Despite his claims it has nothing to do with the colour of his skin and has more to do with the fact he refuses to be humble despite being given plenty of opportunities. His reaction to be questioned is to throw large bundles of cash around giving the impression that he believes he is above other people due to his wealth.
In Australia Anthony Mundine, despite being the most successful boxer of the modern era in the country, has far more people tuning into his fights with hope that he will be knocked out rather than victorious.
With McGregor it is different.
The Irishman always has a smile on his face and seems to enjoy riling his opponents up more than anything else.
Everything seems to be said with tongue firmly planted in cheek, however I do not doubt for a second that he doubts anything he says is anything other than true.
His recent comments that he will make other fighters rich, including his next likely opponent UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos, were spot on.
He is the money fight across any division in mixed martial arts.
His recent fight with Jose Aldo was by FAR the most anticipated featherweight fight of all time.
Early indications say the fight will do well over one million pay-per-view buys. Despite the stacked undercard, those numbers are not registered without the massively hyped main event.
His rise to prominence could not have come at a better time with the UFC’s other bankable superstar Ronda Rousey suffering a shock loss to Holly Holm.
Her movie commitments also place the UFC in a tough position as she will be unable to train or fight while on set.
The UFC currently have a brilliant crop of champions. Demetrious Johnson has practically cleaned out the flyweight division and is widely regarded as the best pound for pound fighter on the planet.
His down to earth persona and the fact his lighter weight division doesn’t typically attract as much attention as the heavier weight classes combine to limit his appeal as a pay-per-view drawcard.
Current World Heavyweight Champion Fabrício Werdum beat one of the most dominant heavyweights of the modern era in Cain Velasquez, yet his World Title defence drew only 300,000 buys.
No one in the combat sport world possesses the appeal of the 145 pound knockout artist.
Miguel Cotto and Saul Alvarez recently took part in the biggest boxing pay-per-view since Mayweather/Pacman yet it failed to draw a million buys.
I bet if you place McGregor on ANY fight card against any opponent he breaks the magic million buy mark.
His potential super fight with Dos Anjos will likely only fall behind UFC 100 in terms of attention and purchases.
With all due respect to the Brazilian champion, any potential million plus buy-rate will come down to the Irishman’s ability to sell the fight.
Conor McGregor is the ultimate package. He talks big but backs up everything he says and then some. He has the rare ability to talk trash yet come across as likeable and has fans because of his mouth rather than in spite of.
Should he come through his potential fight with Dos Anjos relatively unscathed he will likely headline UFC 200, possibly in a rematch with Aldo or perhaps against fellow big talker Nate Diaz.
With Dana White and co ready to stack the undercard, UFC 100’s records will surely not only be toppled but likely blown out of the water.
It will be on the back of the biggest star in combat sports right now, Conor McGregor.