"I believe 2015 will be my year. I know a lot of the featherweights are bitching and moaning and hating on it but they don't have to love it. They can even hate it, but they will be forced to accept it." Conor McGregor, November 2014.
Legions of fans tuned in to watch MMA history earlier tonight at UFC 194. On one side, scores of Brazilians rallying for their hero to silence the Octagon jester. On the other, the fighting Irish singing and marching alongside their uncrowned king through the Las Vegas strip. The rest of the world was caught somewhere in the middle.
Some loved it. Some hated it. Everyone was forced to accept it.
McGregorMania hit its peak when the Irishman ended Jose Aldo's ten-year reign of terror in just thirteen seconds. It took just a sidestep and a swift counter to send the pound-for-pound king crashing to the canvas. "Scarface" was relieved of his championship duty to give birth to a new featherweight king. And he's here to stay.
"I will pressure him. I will evade him. I will be a ghost in there," McGregor said at the pre-fight press conference, once again living up to his "Mystic Mac" moniker.
Aldo charged forward with a combination, but McGregor was nowhere to be seen. He evaded and struck the Brazilian like he said he would with a sniping counter, reminiscent of his knockout of Ivan Buchinger to claim the Cage Warriors lightweight title in 2012.
It was over in a flash. And just like that McGregor fulfilled his championship destiny and moves onto the next chapter of his budding career. He conquered both the featherweight and lightweight titles in CWFC; can he do the same in the UFC?
Yes, he can.
Somewhere lost in the sea of fans at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Frankie Edgar sat with what he believes to be the answer to McGregor's mystique. The antidote to McGregorMania. And, after his stunning 1st round KO of Chad Mendes the night prior, the Toms River product will get his due.
But, after that, after McGregor silences more detractors in his first 145 lbs. title defense, the 27-year-old will inevitably capture more gold. "I will KO Jose Aldo and I will face the winner of the lightweight title fight, which takes place a week later. So within two fights I will be a two-weight world champion."
While the timing may be off, "The Notorious" will eventually conquer the "stuck in the mud" lightweight division. And, once again - love it or hate it - you will be forced to accept it.