If you were to watch Conor McGregor at the post-fight press conference for Fight Night 26, you’d think that the great Irish hope had just lost.
Perhaps sitting next to Michael McDonald, who had just been awarded $100,000, stung him. McGregor wanted a finish. He wanted a bonus and to steal the show.
I’ll confess that I didn’t know much about McGregor going into the fight. I’d only seen him once before, finishing Marcus Brimage in one minute. That was certainly an impressive UFC debut, but he had been riding the media bandwagon behind UFC Fight Night 26 for a week, and he had all to prove Saturday.
And despite not stealing the show on an impressive night, McGregor captivated the Boston crowd. With an unusually cocky style, a trait that will take him far in his career, he toyed with a very game Max Holloway, displaying skills both on this feet and on the ground.
The fact that he didn’t finish his opponent shouldn’t take away anything from him.
He’s new in his career and still battling outside the UFC top 10. There’s a long way to go, and he’s only just beginning to ride the momentum that has been behind him in recent weeks.
In this sport you only need to do enough to get a fight against a higher-ranked opponent. That will likely happen for McGregor now. Of course, he is looking to get as much money as he can, and not finishing takes away from your ability to get bigger fights.
But the UFC is a competitive place, and stealing the show is never easy, even on a free event.
McGregor displayed a clever striking style, which taunted his opponent with unorthodox strikes. When the fight went to the ground, although he failed to get the submission, he controlled Holloway with ease—seamlessly switching from mount to his back.
If anything, the luster has become brighter.
Khurram Aziz is an MMA fan and owner of www.sammydress.com