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Conor McGregor: The Next Big Thing at Featherweight?

After Conor McGregor’s dominant performance over Marcus Brimage at UFC on Fuel TV 9, Dana White immediately commented that he is wants to put the Irish striker on the first UFC on Fox Sports card in August. McGregor put on an absolutely dazzling performance against Brimage, completely outclassing the former Ultimate Fighter competitor. McGregor came into the UFC touted as one of the most exciting prospects out Ireland in a long time. His striking is pinpoint accurate and he has rare knockout power at 145 lbs. He has won all his fights by finish and has never even seen a third round in any of his fights. He has knocked out eight of his last nine opponents. Simply put, he lived up to his immense hype in his debut.

It is easy to see the marketing opportunities for a guy like McGregor. He has a distinct, mohawk-ed look and he speaks his mind. He also understands how to hype a fight and generate interest: against Brimage, he called him out and pushed him around at the weigh-ins. Put him on a UFC promo and people will remember his heavy accent. Then, when they see him fight, they will remember his hard-hitting style.

Furthermore, his story is rather amazing. He commented to Yahoo Sports that just a week before the bout, he was on welfare from the government. He grew up incredibly poor and had to cut his teeth in the shady Irish MMA scene for five years before he even sniffed a UFC contract.

Other than Jose Aldo, the UFC is desperate for draws at 145 lbs and below. If McGregor pans out the way I think he can, he may become one of the company’s few stars at the lower weights. One problem the UFC has faced since their merger with the WEC is that they have increased the amount of fighters on their rosters but they haven’t increased the amount of stars on their roster. Urijah Faber was the one true WEC star but even his luster has faded because he has failed to win a championship.

McGregor is also unique in that he can help further develop the UFC’s base in Ireland. Other than Michael Bisping, they have failed to cultivate drawing fighters from the UK and the Republic of Ireland. If he can prove himself to be a draw, the UFC will push him hard for a title shot because they are so desperate for stars from the British Isles.

McGregor has also fought at both 145 and 155 and has expressed willingness to fight at either weightclass. Fans always respect fighters who are willing to take fights in any weight class. If McGregor can keep that “take all-comers” attitude while winning exciting fights, he may be the UFC’s next big star at 145 lbs.

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Fight Cards

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Event Date: November 4, 2016
Broadcast: Spike

UFC Fight Night 98: Dos Anjos vs. Ferguson

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Broadcast: Pay-per-view, Fox Sports 1, UFC Fight Pass

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Event Date: November 19, 2016
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