Saturday 1 October 2016

'It's McGregor's world now' - From New York to New Zealand, global reaction to new UFC champion

Tom Rooney

Published 14/12/2015 | 10:23

Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor

The world media has marvelled at Conor McGregor’s 13 second knockout of Jose Aldo and, in some cases, were rendered awestruck by his apparent clairvoyance.

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Such is the reverence with which Aldo is held in his homeland and the level of vitriol McGregor hurled at a national treasure, it’s of no surprise that a section of Brazilian journalists were not clamouring for their laptops to author effusive tributes to the new undisputed featherweight champion of the world.

The 27-year-old has been given his dues from those willing to admit that they dismissed his grand predictions and relevance to the sport of MMA.

“There is not another athlete in sports today like Conor McGregor,” wrote Les Carpenter in The Guardian. “Not someone who can talk and talk and talk, spouting outrageous boasts that he then backs up in the crucible of competition. In this he is unique.”

Conor McGregor knocks out Jose Aldo during a featherweight championship mixed martial arts bout at UFC 194 in Las Vegas
Conor McGregor knocks out Jose Aldo during a featherweight championship mixed martial arts bout at UFC 194 in Las Vegas

The New York Times got straight to the heart of the SBG man’s latest achievement: “Conor McGregor backed up every word he ever said to Jose Aldo with one spectacular punch.”

While in Australia, Fox Sports echoed McGregor’s long-time proclamation that he is MMA’s most prominent figurehead.

“Conor McGregor’s stunning 13 second KO of Brazilian champion Jose Aldo has elevated him above Ronda Rousey as the biggest star in the UFC according to US scribes in shock after witnessing the record fight in Las Vegas.”

In neighbouring New Zealand, the main topic was the windfall accrued by the fearsome striker in dethroning Aldo, though maybe those famous numbers have been slightly embellished.

“The winnings gave McGregor an earnings rate of nearly $1m per second,” exclaimed Stuff.co.nz.  “The victory money came largely from TV pay-per-view profits, of which McGregor was expected to take his $12m share.  Gate-takings for the UFC 194 fight in Las Vegas were understood to be over $10m.

The Bleacher Report accepted the new world order brought to bear by the most devastating left hand in combat sports.

Conor McGregor reacts after defeating Jose Aldo during a featherweight championship mixed martial arts bout at UFC 194, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Conor McGregor reacts after defeating Jose Aldo during a featherweight championship mixed martial arts bout at UFC 194, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

“One thing is clear: It's McGregor's world now," they contend. "The whole thing was a blur, lasting only 13 seconds, making it the fastest title fight in UFC history. It was so quick that the sold-out MGM Grand Garden Arena crowd barely reacted to the finish. Most everyone had braced themselves for something long and drawn-out, something grinding and violent.

“He talked trash about nearly everyone within 20 pounds of him along the way, made sure he was in the crosshairs of anyone who mattered. The extra pressure he placed upon himself would have crushed most.”

“It is difficult to quantify how much extra stress he put upon his journey by being so vocal about his perceived place in the fight world. If that fight happened in a big hyped boxing match folks would be calling the feds and it would be the biggest scandal ever. #UFC194”

In The Telegraph, veteran combat sports reporter Gareth A. Davies was positively gushing. “Whatever happens, McGregor is just spectacular - and so brilliant for the sport.”

Back in Brazil, the media has been trying to digest the sobering defeat of Aldo.

Fohla de S. Paulo writes that the "golden years" of Brazilian MMA has now been brought to a close following Aldo's stunning loss, while O Globo, a sports newspaper in Rio, is yet to be fully convinced about the new champion.

They write the defeat is "a stain on the career" for Aldo and the manner of defeat "shameful" for someone of his undoubted calibre.

They add that McGregor is a "myth fighter" and will continue to be until he is stopped in the octagon.

"One day you're the king . Next, the jester takes his crown," they write.

"The outspoken athlete [McGregor] who won more recognition from his provocations than by knockouts, will now be treated as a sport myth until the day that is defeated in the UFC."

The Estado de Minas meanwhile is more magnanimous and writes that McGregor backed up his fighting talk against his highly regarded opponent.

"Maybe Conor McGregor said too much, but he did everything he said. Now the featherweight champion who dispatched José Aldo in just 13 seconds at UFC 194 in Las Vegas has demonstrated his first act as king."

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