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UFC 189 Opinion: Conor McGregor's championship dream realised, Jose Aldo's real belt next

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Conor McGregor gets his first taste of championship glory at UFC 189, with Chad Mendes only prolonging the Irishman's inevitable acquisition of the official featherweight title.

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The most anticipated UFC event of the year, perhaps ever, has come and gone. A card littered from top to bottom with blockbuster performances and highlight reel finishes delivered on all fronts. UFC 189 entertained with rock 'em sock 'em slugfests and methodical, mathematical violence. A thrilling night of fisticuffs topped off with an emotional rollercoaster of a main event.

Conor McGregor can talk the talk and walk the walk. Despite entering the Octagon on Saturday night with a record of 17-2 and notching up five wins under the UFC banner, the Irishman was still largely considered an enigma. 'Mystic Mac' proved to be a rather apt moniker. Not because of McGregor's uncanny ability to forecast the method and round of his victories but because his overall mixed martial arts ability was still somewhat a mystery.

That mystery was solved earlier tonight when he disposed of Chad Mendes via TKO in the second round. 'Can he handle a wrestler?' That was the burning question headed into UFC 189 and it took just two rounds for McGregor to deliver the answer.

The Notorious one weathered Mendes' storm of takedowns and replied with a whirlwind of his own. From the opening bell McGregor began poking at Mendes with a series of body kicks; visibly sapping the Californian's energy and eventually setting up a sniping left hand to finish the fight.

McGregor not only conquered the wrestling bull in Chad Mendes at UFC 189, but he also dispelled any doubts over battling through adversity. Team Alpha Male ring leader Urijah Faber questioned the Dubliner's heart prior to his scrap in Las Vegas due to his previous losses to Joseph Duffy and Artemij Sitenkov. McGregor succumbed early on to submissions in both contests with Duffy and Sitenkov but fended off choke holds from Mendes and persevered with unquestionable spirit. The fighting Irish spirit.

The young fighter from Crumlin has usurped The Prince and acquired UFC gold. His championship dream has been realised, but he still has to dethrone the featherweight King.

Jose Aldo has reigned supreme for ten years. An entire decade of dominance in the featherweight fold has cemented the Brazilian as one of the pound for pound greats. A worthy King. But with ten years worth of battles and victories on the mixed martial art's battleground comes a hefty price - a price Jose seems to be paying mightily in recent years.

McGregor was originally set to lock horns with Aldo for UFC 189, but a rib fracture suffered during a sparring session forced the reigning champ to withdraw at the last minute. Aldo's recent rib injury marks the sixth time the Brazilian has had to pull out of a fight. Alarmingly, five of his six fight withdrawals have occurred during the last four years. The heavy fight mileage accumulated from an eleven-year career is finally beginning to kill the engine. By the time he faces McGregor, it may already be too late for the Nova União product to fully repair.

With every ending, there is also a new beginning. We saw the end of Anderson Silva's mighty reign at the top when he was dethroned by Chris Weidman at UFC 162. Silva's historic demise was followed with the birth of a new champion. A new era for the middleweight division ushered in by 'The Spider's conqueror. The featherweight division will follow the same fate.

As Joe Rogan repeatedly mentioned during the pre-fight build up for UFC 189: there's an aura about Conor McGregor. An aura so absorbing that the self-assured SBG fighter has a way of convincing fans' of his mettle. He says it's his destiny to become the greatest and it seems like it just might be. He's ticking all the boxes. Shattering all the records. He's the golden goose the UFC have longed for. And when he inevitably dethrones Jose Aldo and captures the official featherweight title, like Chris Weidman, Conor McGregor will usher in a new era for not just the featherweight division, but for mixed martial arts itself.