Conor McGregor: A Lifetime in 13 Seconds
A nation rise to their feet as they wait in anticipation for the arrival of their robust, ruthless and relentless rebel. The arena diffuses into darkness, thousands of lights from the phones of spectators spread sporadically and magnificently are all that is visible, as the blood of every being present runs cold.
The whistle and drum of Irish folklore, of Irish fight, of Irish freedom swarms around the arena sending a haunting chill down the neck and spine of over 16,000 people inside the MGM. An eruption of electric noise echoes from the crowd as their messianic figure is projected onto the screen. His face conveys an image of a calm and composed character ready for the ephemeral encounter which is to come, but his eyes project a glimpse of the pain, sacrifice and combat, not only of himself, but of distant generations before him. There was to be no mistake. Las Vegas had fallen to the hands of an Irish invasion, and that invasion was led by Conor McGregor.
It would be quite the understatement to depict the loud, opinionated and suit endorsing Irishman as a colourful character but nevertheless, it was the colours of his national flag that radiated the room, not only from the tricolour rested around his neck but that of the sea of green which flooded the entire building. McGregor’s previous statement had proved unerring. When one Irishman goes to war; they all go to war.
Remarkably, a champion undefeated for over a decade in the shape of Brazilian, Jose Aldo, his walkout anthem indistinguishable over the Irish crowd, enters the Octagon as the underdog to his challenger. The champion, perhaps not admittedly, must have been expecting the greatest clash of his career. The UFC Featherweight division had laughed at McGregor. They saw him as nothing more than a funny Irishman. However Aldo was now the final obstacle in McGregor’s path, and the only man who stood between the Irishman and Featherweight domination.
The unequivocal voice of veteran Octagon announcer Bruce Buffer bellows around the arena. Fighting out of Dublin, Ireland and in the blue corner, Conor McGregor, an illustration of confidence and flexibility as he embraces the crowd. Fighting out of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and in the red corner, Jose Aldo, an illustration of tension and stiffness as he keeps his eyes locked onto the canvas. The fighters are called in by the referee but refuse to perform the niceties of touching gloves. The fight is underway.
McGregor wastes no time approaching the Brazilian, already having taunted him inside the Octagon, his face appearing just as crazy as that of the gorilla’s tattooed across his chest. The champion and the southpaw both wait for each other to make the first move, which Aldo performs. But with this move comes the first mistake, and indeed the last. The champion, just as McGregor had predicted, overextends with a loaded right-hand which the Irishman swiftly avoids and replies with a straight-left crashing against the Brazilian’s chin and planting him flat on the canvas. The Irish crowd are sent into a state of pandemonium.
To the naked eye, this fight could appear to have lasted a mere 13 seconds. However, as Conor McGregor would tell you, the competition between himself and the man who faces him in the mirror which had begun the day he abandoned a mundane Dublin building site job to follow his dream, was the real fight that took place in the Octagon that night. A fight which saw a stadium on its feet, Aldo on his back and ‘The Notorious’, victorious.