What a night to remember for Conor McGregor -- there hasn't been one quite like it, ever, in the history of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
The fiery Irishman, literally, talked himself into being a superstar, the future of the Featherweight division and, possibly, the sport. That got him a world title fight against 145-pound champion, Jose Aldo, but the Brazilian was forced to withdraw two weeks out from UFC 189's main event tonight (Sat., July 11, 2015).
It didn't matter ... just like "Notorious" reminded us at every turn.
McGregor accepted a bout against the No. 1-ranked contender in the division, Chad Mendes instead, a strong wrestler with major punching power. And when the cage door closed, McGregor not only proved that he could take a good punch -- Mendes drilled him numerous times -- but that he could also overcome adversity.
Indeed, Mendes dragged McGregor down to the mat several times when it was clear that he was overmatched in the striking department. "Money" bloodied and beat McGregor -- even went for a his bread-and-butter submission -- but it was not enough to stop a man seemingly possessed.
McGregor escaped the aforementioned submission, and even though Mendes was grinding on him for nearly a full round, popped up like toast and torched his opponent along the cage. One more good kick, and then an overhand left, was too much for Mendes, who after 10 minutes seemingly had nothing left in the tank.
With just three seconds remaining in round two, McGregor scored the decisive victory of a lifetime, with all the pressure of his country on his shoulders. He is clearly a one-of-a-kind superstar in the making ... if he isn't one already.
For complete results from UFC 189: "Mendes vs. McGregor," including play-by-play updates, click here.
MMA Video: UFC 189 was one of the most memorable nights in UFC history