Two of the UFC's most influential figures are rarely seen and almost never heard. Matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby are the puppet masters, pulling the strings and moving the fighters behind the scenes. Signings, releases, and matchups; more often than not, all roads lead through these two men for UFC fighters. As such it's fascinating to get a glimpse of their thoughts on one of the UFC's brightest young prospects, Conor McGregor. Silva and Shelby gave an interview to SevereMMA.com while in England for UFC Fight Night: Gustafsson vs. Manuwa. Check it out.
Here's what Joe Silva had to say about Conor McGregor and his extreme marketability as a fighter:
The good thing about a Conor McGregor is, there are a lot of talented fighters out there, but it's difficult... I mean, if you look at Anderson Silva, who many say is the most talented MMA fighter ever in MMA, and he came in his first UFC fight, he fought Chris Leben. Who everybody knew, knew him from the Ultimate Fighter, knew he was really tough, great chin, knockout power, and Anderson wrecked him. But, it still took a long time for people to embrace Anderson Silva, as supremely talented as he was.
Now, every now and then, you'll get this guy, could have one UFC fight, and there's something about them, people just grab onto it. It's like, "That guy, I love that guy." And it helps when that guy can also fight. So, that's with Conor McGregor, you have a guy who, yes, he's an excellent fighter, but he has a charisma to him that people have instantly taken a liking to him.
But, it will be interesting, because that also puts a lot of pressure. You don't get to build yourself in the shadows, in the background work your way up. Already everybody's aware of him and they're like, "We want to see this guy in big time fights."
There's a lot more in there, so check out the whole thing as it's a rare peak into the minds of two of the UFC's most influential figures.