Category: UFC

Conor McGregor: Living Dangerously

Conor McGregor: Living Dangerously

Ever since Connor McGregor’s explosive arrival into the bear pit of MMA and UFC, he has courted controversy and divided public opinion with his attitude and approach towards the most unforgiving of sports.

Arrogant, cocky, offensive, and disrespectful are just a few of the accusations that are levelled at the notorious one on a daily basis.

Multiple encounters with the law also suggest that McGregor has sailed perilously close to the wind in both his personal and professional life, and it seems that wherever he now goes there is drama lurking around the very next corner.

However, when placed under the microscope it would suggest that his career is a tale of triumph and inspiration. A man who dared to dream of a life outside the monotony of the rat race, a fighter who bucked the trend and set out to achieve his dreams through sheer desire and an unshakable belief in his own ability to become a superstar in the world of MMA.

Going against the wishes of his own father, McGregor believed in the power of positive thinking and gave up life as a plumber from an early age, pouring his heart and soul into the notion of becoming Ireland’s first fighting megastar. He was eventually signed to a UFC contract in 2013.

What followed was an unstoppable march to greatness, as McGregor’s star begun to shine majestically bright with one fight of the night performance after another. Coupled with his magnetic personality, it was hard to keep your eyes away from the the new Irish sensation, who not only talked the talk but would also strut the walk.

A World Championship opportunity eventually presented itself against the UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo, who had reigned supreme for seven long years with an eighteen fight undefeated streak.

McGregor brazenly predicted that Aldo would be knocked out within 10 seconds of the first round. Few could comprehend such disrespect to a humble and popular legend like Jose Aldo, and he was lambasted for his disrespect and foolhardy prediction.

McGregor would silence the naysayers once again however, as he delivered on his outrageous prophecy, dropping Aldo to the canvas with a knock out left hook after thirteen seconds of the opening bell. A new champion was crowned as a brave new dawn had risen in the UFC.

A fresh and captivating era in the sport was ushered in thereafter, as McGregor drew new eyes and ears to an already immensely popular sport. With his media appearance’s and marketability sending PPV buy rates through the roof anytime he headlined an event.

His pursuit of glory and legendary status would lead him to chase after a second championship at Lightweight, whilst still in possession of the Featherweight title, a feat never accomplished by any male or female in UFC history.

What followed was two thrilling brawls with Nate Diaz after initial opponent and reigning Lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos had to withdrew from the proposed bout with injury.

Diaz would win the first bout via tap out after a remarkable stand up brawl between the two, which left fight fans instantly clamoring for a rematch. McGregor emerged from the second clash narrowly victorious, with both showdown’s a monumental success in buy rates and media buzz.

Eddie Alvarez was McGregor’s next adversary as the quest to be double champion would not be denied. He subsequently dismantled Alvarez inside two rounds to become reigning World Lightweight and Featherweight Champion. Remarkably holding titles in two different weight classes simultaneously.

Eventually he would relinquish both belts and went on to face Floyd Mayweather in a much publicised Boxing match which he would lose in the 10th round. It was a highly commendable performance however, and it would further enforce his unmistakable self belief to face up to the most monumental challenges in combat sports head on.

When pouring over these facts I feel that that it is certainly not unjust to place Connor McGregor alongside the likes of Anderson Silva and George St Pierre as the greatest athlete of all time in UFC.

Each of those fighters dominated their division for a far superior timeframe, but did not possess the ability to draw a crowd like the brash and unreservedly unapologetic McGregor. Whilst neither held two titles at different weights simultaneously as previously mentioned.

It now remains to be seen whether the notorious one can reclaim the glories of yesteryear after returning from multiple apparent retirements. He has lost to both Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirer in convincing fashion, and here I believe lies the conundrum.

As is the case with elite level sports and in life itself, time passes by in the blink of an eye. Before we know it the gladiators of the past are chased down, and eventually overthrown by the new wave of hungry young pretenders to the throne, such is the great circle of life.

Stronger, badder, and fitter adversaries are always sure to chase the dream just as hard as Connor did himself in his earlier years. But it is a familiar tale in any sporting genre that once you scale the mountain top it often becomes even harder to maintain your threshold there. As motivation often tends to evaporate over the course of time, where the thrill of the chase can often outweigh the final conclusion.

Thus, it is now up to Connor himself if he wishes to either step aside for the new breed or make a stand to reclaim his kingdom.

The choice is certainly a tough one and echoes one of my favorite films of all time Rocky III, as the Italian Stallion ponders walking away from Boxing after a crushing loss to the fearless young upstart Clubber Lang.

Crippled by self doubt, he has money in the bank and riches beyond his wildest dreams, yet Rocky still makes the choice to come back and reclaim glory from his enemy. Personal pride and the hunt for success would mean more to him than fame and fortune ever could.

McGregor now faces a similar crossroads in his career, and must chose wisely which path he wishes to tread down next, as he relaxes in his Las Vegas based mansion that he has undoubtedly earned.

To re-discover that motivation requires a unique mindset, and as we speak he has signed on for the trilogy fight with Dustin Poirer as he attempts to make amends for his most recent defeat. If Connor emerges victorious it will be fascinating as always to see what he has set his sights on next.

However, I do believe that if he commits wholeheartedly to the next phase of his career, like he has done so in his pomp, then we could possibly see the resurgence of one of the greatest of all time in the UFC.

In closing, it is evident that Connor McGregor has walked a metaphorical tightrope throughout the duration of his personal life, and now many believe he will do so with the legacy of his own career, if his stubborn refusal to submit to old father time results in failure in the octagon.

Personally, I believe that if he should ultimately fall short in his return to arms it should not cast any doubt or aspersions over his huge achievements and impact in both MMA and UFC.

Rather than be derided for any future failings, he should be celebrated as a man who defied convention and became the most must see fighter of his generation, and for that reason I hope that his decision to fight on in such an unrelenting profession garners the respect it so fully deserves.

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Brock Lesnar: One Of A Kind

Brock Lesnar: One Of A Kind

Manufactured for destruction, The Beast Incarnate Brock Lesnar has dismantled the very best that combat sport has had to offer over a twenty year period. A true anomaly in the fight world, he has laid waste to the competition across three different disciplines in a stellar fight career.

Born in South Dakota, Brock excelled in both American Football and amateur wrestling from an early age, sealing a athletics scholarship in wrestling at the university of Minnesota in the year 2000.

This is where his ascension to superstardom began as he became the NCAA Heavyweight wrestling champion at the age of 23 years old, as seen in the corresponding photograph below.

Brock’s physical stature and imposing presence soon caught the attention of World Wrestling Entertainment, who promptly signed him to a developmental deal that summer, and he would make his debut two years later.

Professional Wrestling.

He debuted on WWE television on March 18th 2002, billed as “The Next Big Thing” his rapid rise to the top of the championship scene culminated with a classic encounter with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson at Summerslam on August 25th, who himself was the biggest draw in professional wrestling at the time.

Brock stood firm in the face of adversity and left The Rock victimized with a comprehensive mauling, as he became the youngest WWE champion of all time at 25 years old, a mere five months removed from his debut on the main roster. The first of many record breaking accolades for a man who was deemed to be a freak of nature, not only because of his physical stature but also due to his natural ability inside of a wrestling ring.

His reign of dominance would continue within the company for a prolonged period of time as the likes of the legendary Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker would fall to the Canadian powerhouse.

Eventually he would head for pastures new in the summer of 2004 as he and the WWE parted ways in less than amicable circumstances, as Lesnar wished to pursue a career in the NFL.

A motorbike accident that broke his jaw and left him nursing a recurring groin injury would ultimately curtail his dream.

His fractured relationship with WWE led him to work for wrestling companies in Japan, where once again he would capture championship gold. Becoming the IWGP Heavyweight Wrestling Champion and the main box office attraction for the company, which is where he continued to hone his skills until his depatrure in 2007.

The Ultimate Fighter.

Brock’s subsequent signing to the UFC in 2008 was deemed to be a massive coup for its owner Dana White, as his name and image had held huge drawing power in the world of Professional Wrestling .

Fight fans were eager to see him in action, many holding the belief that WWE would be shown to be a facade in the world of “true” combat sports.

No man had ever crossed the divide of WWE to UFC ever before, and it was deemed to be a very risky move, with his reputation and that of Professional Wrestling seemingly being placed on the line.

Professional Wrestling is certainly choreographed, but to simply label it as “fake” provides a huge disservice to the athletes themselves. Aches, pains, and severe injuries that these performers have faced over the years are no laughing matter, many have suffered concussions and broken bones in order to entertain its fanbase. For people to pour scorn on it leaves me mystified as to why it does not accrue the recognition it surely deserves, as the scars that these highly trained professional athletes bear are unequivocally for real.

Making his highly anticipated debut at UFC 81, he faced the accomplished veteran Frank Mir, who swiftly dispatched of Brock in the first round by knee bar submission.

This was to be a mere bump in the road for The Beast however, as his desire to compete in MMA would not diminish as he made his return to the octogon at UFC 87 with a dominant win over Heath Herring by unanimous decision.

The crowning achievement of Brock’s storied career was soon to follow at UFC 91, as he faced off against the legendary Randy Couture for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. Considered an outsider by many due to his relative inexperience inside the octagon, Brock shocked the world with a brutal secound round stoppage, exploding a right hand onto Randy’s temple that left him shell shocked as his legs crumbled beneath him.

Brock quickly capitalised, as he gained full mount control over his opponent and unleashed a series of short arm shots to the head that would go unanswered by Couture.

Watch as Brock Lesnar wins the UFC World Heavyweight Championship.

In that moment Lesnar had become the only man in history to hold the accolade of being both a WWE and UFC World Heavyweight Champion, lending legitimacy to the name of professional Wrestling for the first time in its existence. His fearless and animal like tenacity for success had placed him at the head of a sport that had previously questioned his mere presence amongst its ranks.

Frank Mir would be next in line to lock horns with the newly crowned King of the division, holding up his previous submission victory over him as a bargaining chip , the re-match was made official and Lesnar avenged his debut loss by TKO in the second round.

A scheduled defence of the Championship against Shane Carwin was next up for Lesnar, it would go down much later than originally scheduled however, as he began experiencing the early stages of a string of serious health problems. These issues threatened his life and would ultimately lead to his retirement from UFC and MMA altogether.

Eventually diagnosed with diverticulitis, Lesnar spent a number of months in hiatus from the company in order to recover from his dehabilitating injuries, with a section of his Colon eventually being surgically removed as faecal matter had been leaking into his abdomen through his lower intestine, causing serious health complications and by his own admission it was the “sickest I have been in my entire life”.

Shane Carwin and Frank Mir clashed in his absence in order to determine a new interim champion with Carwin emerging the victor. Lesnar was waiting amongst the shadows and on his return he would spectacularly reclaim the throne he had been forced to relinquish, with a 2nd round submission win via triangle chokehold.

A triumphant return against Shane Carwin.

It was a simply stunning return to form for a man that had been laid low for such a long period of time, a display that epitomised Lesnar’s astonishing heart to battle back from the brink of despair, whilst fight fans were no longer in doubt that this former professional Wrestler was indeed the real deal.

The Brock Lesnar freight train would soon begin to lose traction however, after losing his next defence to Cain Velasquez. His struggles with diverticulitis had re-emerged and continued to hamper his performance in both the physical and mental aspect of the sport.

His subsequent loss to Alistair Overeem would be the catalyst to his retirement from the sport in 2012, due to the propensity of many opponents to attack his severely weakened abdomen during battle, and in such a brutal and unforgiving sport it was considered a very wise move to step away from Mixed Martial Arts.

WWE Return.

Brock’s long awaited return to professional wrestling materialised later that summer in 2012. His comeback in WWE has been littered with countless monumental moments and championships, once again leaving spectators in no doubt as to whom the company’s premiere athlete is.

His presence alone can to be attributed to a rise in TV viewers as he made his triumphant comeback to WWE. He was also a huge box office draw for the UFC as his aura belies that of a mega star, as people seem to thrive on seeing this fighting machine in action.

His title runs in WWE have been met by much negativity since his return due to the formulaic nature of his matches, however when faced with the right opponent his matches with the likes of AJ Styles and Rey Mysterio have been a real treat to watch.

Whilst his shocking victory over The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 33 broke the dead man’s legendary streak and is a bone of contention for many wrestling fans to this day, however to Lesnar it is simply another feather in an ever expanding cap.

The Final Word.

Despite all of his achievements he is certainly no angel, and after defeating Mark Hunt in a one off return at UFC 200 he later tested positive for steroids, with the victory declared null and void in the record books.

A wholly inconsiderate move that ultimately endangered his opponents wellbeing, and for that his actions cannot be condoned or ignored.

Lesnar’s career has been intertwined with success, controversy, and championships since its onset.

Therefore, for his never before seen exploits he should be regarded as a unique and precious commodity in combat sports.

He has battled dangerous opponents both in and outside of the ring, hauling himself from the canvas on countless occasions from both a professional and personal perspective.

Alas, it is hugely admirable that he has carved out such a monumental and unique career in the face of such adversity, conquering the countless barriers that had been strewn across his metaphorical pathway.

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