Debunking The Myth That Conor McGregor Hasn't Earned A Title Shot

A lot has been made by some of Conor supposed easy run to the title shot.
Many have said that he hasn't done enough to earn his chance at the gold.
Rather than going over the often done list of Conors strengths and accomplishments, I'd like to go down a different route.
If Conor hasn't earned a title shot against Jose, who has.

To keep this as simple as possible, I am going to break down the last five fights of all of Jose's UFC and WEC defences.
Five fights, to match the UFC record of Conor.

A couple of caveats first.

Chad Mendes is the only fighter to earn two shots.
I'll be trying to treat them as two separate events, and won't take the first run into consideration for his second tilt.

Secondly, I'll be talking about the opponents of the fighters as they were viewed then, not now.
A fighter going on to have a good run afterwards doesn't mean that a victory over them five years ago had the same effect as it would now.
All fights are reviews on face value.

Then lets begin.

Chad Mendes


4 KO/TKO's
1 Decision


Nick Lentz (W - Dec)

Clay Guida (W - TKO)

Darren Elkins (W - TKO)

Yaotzin Meza (W - KO)

Cody McKenzie (W - TKO)

I think it's fair to say that Chad did enough to earn his shot.
He added a new wrinkle to his game with his growing confidence in his striking.
None of his opponents were highly ranked, and none were even close to a title contention.
But he easily beat all infornt of him, and did so dominantly.

Ricardo Lamas


2 KO/TKO's
1 Submission
1 Decision
1 Defeat via KO


Erik Koch (W - TKO)

Hatsu Hioki (W - Dec)

Cub Swanson (W - Sub)

Matt Grice (W - TKO)

Iuri Alcantara (L - KO)

Obviously not as strong as Chad.
The KO loss is always going to stand against him.
Looking back with hindsight it's easy to say that the Cub Swanson victory is the biggest, but that would be a mistake.
This loss brought Cub to 2-3 in his last five, with losses to Mendes and his eight second destruction at the hands of Aldo.
Lets just say that Cub wasn't considered such a scalp.
That leaves Koch as his biggest win.
Not exactly a killers row, but again, not the worst of runs.

Chan Sung Jung


1 KO
2 Submissions
1 KO loss
1 Decision Loss.


Dustin Poirier (W - Sub)

Mark Hominick (W - KO)

Leonard Garcia (W - Sub)

Mark Roop (L - KO)

Leonard Garcia (L - Dec)

Now I'm as big a Korean Zombie fan as anyone, but is this really title challenging form.
The biggest win here is Mark Hominick.
But can we learn too much from a 7 second KO, as impressive as it was.
Then we have Dustin Poirier, a great fight, very competitive.
There isn't much that can be said about the Roop loss, as KZ was left asleep.
Any straight KO looks bad.
The two fights with Garcia also seem fairly trite.
Let's be honest, he won both fights, but a title challenger should be demolishing a limited fighter like Leonard.
A contender for the weakest challenger.

Frankie Edgar


1 KO
1 Decision
1 Draw
2 Decision losses.


Benson Henderson (L - Dec)

Benson Henderson (L - Dec)

Gray Maynard (W - KO)

Gray Maynard (D)

B J Penn (W - Dec)

On paper the weakest challenger.
Winning only half (2 1/2) of his proceeding fights.
I'm never a fan of somebody coming into a division and getting an immediate title shot.
Especially not off of two losses, no matter how close and controversial.
Frankie got the fight on name recognition.
He's a great fighter, and I'm one of those who thought that he beat Aldo, but lets not pretend that it wasn't a gift title shot.

Chad Mendes


1 Submission
4 Decision


Rani Yahya (W - Dec)

Michihiro Omigawa (W - Dec)

Javier Vasquez (W - Dec)

Cub Swanson (W - Dec)

Anthony Morrison (W - Sub)

So as with his second more recent attempt at dethroning Jose, Chad was also 5-0 in his previous fights.
It was not as impressive as his later run though.
We only have one finish, and once again, it's not the greatest group of fighters.
The only really big name is Cub, but as with Lamas, his victory over Cub wasn't world shattering.
It was around the same time as Ricardo's and Cub wasn't as accomplished as he is now.
Omigawa was on a decent run, but from the Mendes fight onwards he's 2-6.
So not exactly a world beating run.

Kenny Florian


2 Submissions
1 Decision
1 Submission loss
1 Decision loss


Diego Nunez (W - Dec)

Gary Maynard (L - Dec)

Takanori Gumi (W - Sub)

Clay Guido (W -Sub)

BJ Penn (L - Sub)

Once again a case of somebody coming down and getting a title shot based on name recognition.
At least Kenny had to win one first.
Not that his close victory over Diego Nunez, who's hardly a world beater was that impressive.
Before that is all Lightweight fights, so not really a comparison.
In fairness, Kenny was only a shade of himself at featherweight.
But beating Clay Guida (in what was admittedly a fun fight), a washed up Takanori Gomi, and an average Nunez, while getting squashed by Maynard, and destroyed by BJ Penn, is hardly championship material.

Mark Hominick


2 TKO's
2 Submissions


George Roop (W - TKO)

Leonard Garcia (W - Dec)

Yves Jabuin (W - TKO)

Bryan Caraway (W -Sub)

Savant Young (W- Sub)

The only fighter in this list other than Chad to have a 5-0 record.
And it's fairly impressive, even if the opponents are a bit pedestrian, with no real contenders.
It's easy to look at the end of Hominicks career, how he went 0-4 from Aldo onwards, and let it colour your opinion.
It wouldn't really be fair though, Mark deserved his shot, and his sudden decline doesn't take that away.
A solid group of average fighters, with no contenders.

Manny Gamburyan


1 KO
2 Decisions
1 KO loss
1 Dec loss


Mike Brown (W - KO)

Leonard Garcia (W - Dec)

John Franchi (W - Dec)

Thiago Tavares (L- Dec)

Rob Emmerson (L KO)

Probably the weakest of all challengers.

He got the fight off of his KO of Mike Brown, the former champion.

And while yes, his two losses may have been as an undersized light weight, victories over Leonard Garcia and John Franchi do not a challenger make.

Urijah Faber


2 Submissions
1 Decision
1 TKO loss
1 Decision loss


Raphael Assuncao (W - Sub)

Mike Brown (L - Dec)

Jens Pulver (W - Sub)

Mike Brown (L - TKO)

Jens Pulver (W - Dec)

Undoubtedly the most accomplished of names in the group.
Yes he may have lost to Brown twice, but nobody can say that Faber didn't deserve his shot.
On top of that, while Jens may have been a former champ and a big name, Uriah's victories here were in the middle of a 6 fight losing streak.
Assuncao is a good fighter, and this was a good win. but Uriah got the title shot really based on his history as the long time and dominant champion.
And none could really hold that against him.

So there you go.
Every one of Jose's title defences.

So it's only fair to do the same dissection of Conor "The Notorious" McGregor.

Conor McGregor


4 KO/TKO's
1 Decision


Dennis Siver (W - TKO)

Dustin Poirier (W - TKO)

Diego Brandao (W - TKO)

Max Holloway (W - Dec)

Marcus Brimage (W - TKO)

So we have a perfect 5-0.
With the same 4 TKO / 1 Decision as Chad Mendes in his second tilt.
But with better competition, and more dominating victories.
We have Dennis Siver, who while only borderline top 10 was shut down completely.
I have seen all of Sivers UFC fights.
All 19 of them.
And I've never seem him dismantled like that.
Poirier was a legit top 5 guy.
He lasted less than two minutes.
Brandao has all the tools, and is very dangerous early.
One round.
Holloway was Conor's only non finish.
But Conor completely controlled him, with only one leg for half the fight.
That showed a lot of heart.
And Marcus Brimage, in his first ever UFC fight.
Not only did he take him out early, but he made it look easy, and natural.
Conor never felt the pressure, and dispatched him in just over a minute.

So allow me to summarize.

There is not one fighter that Jose has ever defended his belt against, that was on a better five fight streak.
Only Mendes and Hominick went in 5-0, and neither one had as impressive a set of five victories.
You could argue with Chad's second run, but the competition wasn't really as good.
Continuing to say that he doesn't deserve a shot is a bit baffling to me.
He has done more or at the very least as much, as all of Jose's previous opponents.

And he has looked, very, very, good while doing so.

It's perfectly okay to hate Conor McGregor.
He's very good at being hateable.
But the fans who try and belittle his record are hating just for the sake of hating.

The Notorious Hype Train Express might end up coming off the rails against Jose Aldo.
And there is no shame if it does.
Jose has been the last stop for a lot of hype trains in the past.
But it's gonna be a fun ride as Conor pulls into the station.

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