Love him or loathe him, the Dubliner is the biggest thing in the UFC — no mean feat given the size of the sport. Last night, he defeated a man who had not been beaten in over a decade and was the undisputed pound-for-pound king of the sport. The Irish man did it in just 13 seconds, the fastest in any UFC title fight.
McGregor had predicted a first-round knock-out, which not many believed would happen. “It will be wrapped up inside one [round],” he had said. He was right.
It was 14 months of build- up for a fight that lasted 13 seconds, yet no one felt short-changed. Videos flew out around the world as Irish fans did a massive conga line through the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Even in Sin City, they must have not known what hit them.
Weary Irish fans this side of the globe had barely time to open a beer and it was all over. The Twitter reaction ranged from the expected ‘WTF’ to baffled expressions of disbelief as one king was dethroned and another stepped into his place.
The former amateur boxer from Crumlin was taking plenty of praise from the boxing code, with Olympic gold medallist and multiple world champion Kate Taylor quick out of the blocks to praise the 13-second demolition.
“Wow. 13 seconds!! Congrats champ @TheNotoriousMMA. The best,” she tweeted.
Former WBA super bantamweight world champion Bernard Dunne had plenty of praise for the boxing skills that ultimately finished the fight in style.
“Congrats to king Conor. A lifetime of discipline, dedication and hard work are what make 13 seconds look easy, oh and a mighty left hand!!” he said.
However, it was not just the fighting trade that was blown away by the performance. Even in the more gentle world of golf, the Dubliner is building a following.
Former world number one and four-time major winner Rory McIlroy admitted that he was now a “believer” after watching the Vegas bout.
“He turned a skeptic into a believer last night... @TheNotoriousMMA is the real deal. Talk is cheap but that left hand will make him,” tweeted the Hollywood man.
Irish goalkeeper Shay Given also tuned in for the Las Vegas showdown.
“Congrats to @TheNotoriousMMA what a man 13 secs and KO he can talk the talk but he most definitely can walk the walk #ALDOvMcGREGOR.”
American basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal put his praise more bluntly with: “CONNOR MCGREGOR IS THE TRUTH WOW U SEE DAT DAM.”
Rock and roll stars even want to be him. Jared Followill from the Kings of Leon said he was doing a DNA test this week in the hope of discovering his roots.
“Praying I’m Irish. He fights like I do... When I fight imaginary people in my bedroom,” he tweeted.
The man himself was a picture of calm afterwards. Dressed in a maroon suit at the post-fight press conference, he merely said that he did what he said he would do.
“Mystic Mac strikes again. There are many great fighters who do great things. But when you combine it all together, the whole fight game, I don’t think there’s anyone who does it better than me,” he said.
Conor, no one will ever doubt you again.