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Whether you appreciate his style or consider him loud and excessive, there’s no denying this about Conor McGregor: the UFC has seen nothing like him.
In the two years since he swooped into the UFC, McGregor has become a lightning rod for controversy. But he has backed up his braggadocio with skilled MMA and an ability to draw fans – most to cheer him, some hoping to see him cut down to size.
At UFC 189 in Las Vegas, he made good on a vow to knock out Chad Mendes, capturing the interim featherweight title and setting up a showdown with Jose Aldo, the UFC’s pound-for-pound king.
McGregor’s impressive rise in the UFC took place in a little over two years. It was almost impossible not to notice him after he knocked out Diego Brandao on UFC Fight Night Dublin in July 2014, then spectacularly announced, “We’re not here to take part. We’re here to take over.”
He and his legions of fans have done that. McGregor won 13 bouts in succession from February 2011 to January 2015, culminating with a knockout of Dennis Siver. When he leaped over the Octagon fence to challenge Aldo, sitting in the front row, there was no denying him a title shot.