The Aldo-McGregor show finally is coming to town and we’re not complaining
Call him smug, call him pompous, call him arrogant or cocky. You very well may be right.
Whatever the "Notorious" talker may be, Conor McGregor also is a winner, plain and simple. After winning by second-round TKO over Dennis Siver on Sunday night in Boston, McGregor was announced as the next challenger to featherweight Jose Aldo’s world title.
UFC president Dana White says the promotion is targeting May in Las Vegas for the bout. Of course, we’ve known all along that this fight was the UFC’s plan.
White said as much before the Boston Fight Night event. Now that Aldo vs. McGregor is official, the voices of critics who say McGregor is far from the most deserving challenger at 145 pounds likely will grow louder.
After all, we already know that fighters like Chad Mendes and Frankie Edgar give Aldo trouble, so why not put the champ back in one of those tough fights? There also are other featherweights with more experience and wins in the division than the upstart Irishman, and would be considered favorites if pitted against him.
However, where others’ résumés may compete with or exceed McGregor’s, no one has his combination of wins and timing. The UFC simply can’t ignore the timing of McGregor’s surge in popularity, especially in light of his five impressive wins. McGregor is among the best in the division and has beaten everyone put in front of him, including much more accomplished fighters like Dustin Poirier and Siver.
McGregor’s hard push from the UFC undoubtedly has been in large part due to his marketability — gained in part by antagonizing Aldo and the entire featherweight division. But the Dubliner’s talk would mean nothing if he didn’t continue to finish solid opposition.
Edgar had a crack at Aldo. Mendes had two. Both likely will get another shot at the title, but it isn’t unreasonable to require them to win one or two more before getting it.
As for critics who point out that McGregor has never faced a top wrestler, they are correct. McGregor absolutely should have to face wrestlers. And if he manages to beat Aldo, there will be no hiding him from them.
If a fight against Aldo is a gift to McGregor, it is certainly a rude one. Make no mistake, Aldo should be heavily favored against McGregor.
Everything we’ve seen from both men would seem to indicate that Aldo is simply the better fighter at this point. If McGregor beats "Scarface," the UFC will have an underdog champion who will then face a hungry pack of wolves eager to make him pay for all his trash talk.
There are other, more proven fighters who deserve a title shot more than McGregor, and who likely could beat the Irishman too. But for now, we have a red-hot contender whom the champion can’t wait to get his hands on. That’s not half bad.