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UFC 194 talking points: Conor, Luke and more

Conor McGregor predicted his shots would make Jose Aldo crumble, but after just 13 seconds all it took was one.

Saturday night in the main event of a record-breaking UFC 194, McGregor landed a perfectly placed left counter hook directly on the chin of a charging Aldo, who was left unconscious on contact before falling to the canvas in the middle of the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

More from UFC 194: Experience the history again, order UFC 194 replay | Results | Bonus recap | Watch: Dana White offers his final verdict | McGregor makes history in KO win over Aldo | Rockhold TKO's Weidman to claim title | Romero, Maia and Holloway win | Faber, Torres go distance for wins | Mustafaev, Medeiros and McGee win early | Backstage interviews: Conor McGregor, Luke Rockhold, Demian Maia, Max Holloway, Urijah Faber, Tecia Torres | Octagon interviews: McGregor and Aldo, Rockhold and Weidman | Best pictures from UFC 194

Before the belt could even be wrapped around the waste of the new Irish champion, the Irish faithful in attendance were sent into an uproar of epic proportion, celebrating their countryman, who did exactly what he predicted all those years ago.

The way it ended may not have equaled what we all saw in our minds of how the fight would go. But in record-breaking fashion McGregor still completed his objective of taking out the entire featherweight division.

Today’s talking points:

1.The truth hurts

McGregor was extremely vocal  at the “Go Big” press conference in the fall, and took aim at the entire roster on stage. Slinging challenges and insults, but ended with a single question as the rest of the fighters on stage glared at the Irish trash talker: “Have I been wrong yet?”

McGregor was right once again at UFC 194, predicting his first round finish of legendary champion Jose Aldo to collect the undisputed featherweight title. McGregor becomes only the second man ever to hold that distinction, and with his 13-second KO becomes the fastest person in UFC history to win a championship fight.

Asked after the fight if he feels he’s now taken the pound-for-pound label from Aldo with the win, McGregor said it’s hard to argue that he hasn’t.
 


“I believe there are many great fighters – there are many people who do great things – but when you combine it all together,” he said. “When you combine the whole package, the whole animal that is the fight game, I don’t think there is nobody that does it better than me. I think I’m the pound-for-pound No. 1.”

2. Gutting it out

In a title fight featuring the two best middleweights in the world in the prime of their careers it was likely going to take a gutsy effort from the challenger to take out the champion.

Fighting a staph infection and taking antibiotics for two weeks leading up to UFC 194, Luke Rockhold fought off fatigue and an always-resilient Chris Weidman to become the new UFC middleweight champion.
 


Weidman went out on his sword, surviving a savage onslaught in the final minute of the third round to force extra time. But Rockhold maintained his resolve and brought Weidman back to the mat and finished.

It was nice to see the emotion from Rockhold, usually the super cool playboy. The accomplishment combined with the moment overcame him after the fight as he celebrated with his teammates Daniel Cormier and Cain Velasquez.

3. Next in line

The grapple battle anticipated between Yoel Romero and Jacare Souza played out at times, but it was the striking exchanges that ultimately decided this one.

Souza was stunned early with a beautiful spinning back fist from Romero, which turned Jacare into a wrestler for a while. He was looking for a takedown at any cost against Romero, a world class wrestler, which in the end didn’t result in success.

No. 3-ranked Romero put himself at the front of the line for a potential title shot with a win over the No. 2-ranked Jacare.

Weidman was a great champion who amassed a perfect 13-0 mark in the sport before losing to Rockhold, so it would make sense for him to get another crack at the belt.

Rockhold joked in the post-fight press conference, telling Romero to work on his cardio if he should be the one to get the shot.

“I ain’t going to have staph infection every time,” Rockhold said.

4. Making a case

After Demian Maia outlasted Gunnar Nelson to collect his fourth straight win in the Octagon, the former middleweight was quick to ask for the winner of the welterweight title fight at UFC 195 between Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit.
 


He may not be next in line, but he’s got a case to be made.

Maia has looked impressive and dominant at times at 170 pounds. He’s 7-2 since moving to his new weight class and he continues to show off his scary grappling every time out.

Nelson was supposed to offer resistance to Maia on the floor, but it looked like a master taking his pupil to training. Maia received 30-25 scores on two judges’ scorecards and now looks to break through and earn his second career title shot.

5. The heir apparent

Max Holloway got the job done again at UFC 194, extending his win streak to eight and securing his place at the top of the division with the rest of the contenders.

With McGregor’s future uncertain – will he fight again at 145 or make the move to 155? – the door is wide open for the rest of the decision now.

Holloway said after his win over Jeremy Stephens that he’d like to fight for the title against McGregor if he stays and even offered to face Aldo in Hawaii if the UFC was ready to make its maiden voyage to the Aloha State.

Matt Parrino is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MattParrinoUFC
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