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UFC 196 hotpinion: Devaluing Conor McGregor's resumé

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Mookie Alexander concurs with a recent USA Today column that Conor McGregor was not only exposed by Nate Diaz at UFC 196, but that McGregor's Octagon resumé really isn't that great.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Disclaimer: Before reading any further, check out at least some of my previous hotpinions (UFC 190, UFC 192, UFC 193, UFC London) so you can determine whether or not I'm being serious.

If you peruse USA TODAY's For The Win section out of bizarre self-hatred, you may have noticed an opinion piece written by Simon Samano claiming that Nate Diaz's victory over Conor McGregor validates claims that the latter's status as a "great" UFC fighter is a work of fiction, and that he's actually never been a great UFC fighter at all. In other words, he's not even MMA's Joe Flacco.

Samano says that "Conor McGregor is not a great UFC fighter, though, nor has he ever been. That's something that can't be disputed," and elaborates further by arguing he's "Not the next big thing worthy of all the hype. He's a good fighter who basically talked his way to a title shot."

As brutally honest, direct, and harsh-sounding as that is, I agree 209% with Mr. Samano.

After thoroughly reviewing McGregor's strength-of-victory through incalculable levels of irrationality, I concluded that his resumé is a Notorious B.I.G. fraud. Allow me to explain the truth....


Marcus Brimage - TKO (punches) at 1:07 of round 1

Why I'm not impressed: Conor McGregor is 5'9" and possibly 6'2" if he could ever jump on this beam properly. Brimage is 5'4" and he competed at featherweight. Demetrious Johnson is 5'3" and he's a flyweight. Essentially, this was what Nate Diaz was articulating in last week's press conference. McGregor beat an undersized unranked featherweight, who would later drop to bantamweight and get KO'd there twice more. If Brimage can be slept by Jimmie Rivera then Conor doesn't need special powers to wipe out Verne Troyer's stunt double.

Max Holloway - Unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)

Why I'm not impressed: At the time, Holloway wasn't a top 5 fighter and nowhere near the dangerously talented striker he is today. He was two fights removed from winning a highly questionable decision over Leonard Garcia, which is more ironic than rain on your wedding day. McGregor resorted to taking down Holloway 4 times, and in round 3 he had back-mount, full mount, and 4 guard passes yet never attempted a submission and only landed 8 significant strikes. This is the only time Conor has gone the distance in his career, and it's no coincidence it's against a guy taller than him. So why did McGregor choose to wrestle a supposedly inferior striker like Holloway for much of the fight? I have a theory.

"When a human panics, their first instinct is to grab." - Conor McGregor, December 2nd, 2015

McGregor wanted nothing to do with Holloway's striking and went out of his way to avoid engaging with him in the 3rd. Pre-emptive panic, if you will. If Holloway had a full camp and the fight was contested nearer to the warmer, more familiar Pacific Ocean waters instead of the frigid northeastern part of the Atlantic (which favors McGregor), I think we could've seen McGregor in serious trouble.

Diego Brandao - TKO (punches) at 4:05 of round 1

Why I'm not impressed: Brandao was a short-notice replacement for the injured Cole Miller, who can be just as dangerous a submission specialist as Nate Diaz is when he's at his best. Crisis dodged. Diego had just been KO'd by Dustin Poirier after failing to make weight and not following up on his alleged promise to stab Poirier in the neck. That triple-decker of failure was lined up perfectly for him to be sacrificed to McGregor in front of his Irish supporters. Diego's alleged gas tank went empty during the pre-fight walkouts and McGregor stopped the Brazilian, but not before getting away with a deliberate fence grab to stop a takedown. Conor essentially had to cheat to beat a short-notice, unranked fighter who'd just embarrassed himself in his previous bout. This is as good as a DQ in my book.

Dustin Poirier - TKO (punches) at 1:46 of round 1

Why I'm not impressed: "The Diamond" is always in the rough in the 1st round, which explains his preposterously slow starts before coming back later in the 1st or somewhere in the 2nd to get a win. McGregor has won 13 fights in the 1st round. This was only competitive matchmaking if you strayed away from the sheeple who thought this would be a tough test for Conor. Sure enough, Poirier's slow start habits bit him in the ass and he was bounced inside of 2 minutes, with uncalled back-of-the-head shots sealing another win for Conor. At this point, McGregor had only defended 2 takedown attempts in his entire UFC career.

Dennis Siver - TKO (punches) at 1:54 of round 2

Why I'm not impressed: Siver barely beat Charles Rosa in his previous fight and failed a drug test vs. Manny Gamburyan at the end of 2013. At this point, the UFC was advertising McGregor as MMA's Muhammad Ali, in which case Dennis Siver may as well have been *checks Wikipedia for nearest German equivalent* Willi Besmanoff. Two rounds of predictable domination ensued as McGregor joyously celebrated by screaming in the face of an onlooking Jose Aldo, who probably tuned out Conor by thinking about what was on Sexy Hot.

Chad Mendes - TKO (punches) at 4:57 of round 2

Why I'm not impressed: Short Camp Mendes took McGregor down 4 out of 7 times and Conor was stuck on his back like a drowning ladybug. Chad made a horrific mistake by trying to guillotine Conor when he's got neither the craftiness of a Cody McKenzie nor the technique of a Tiequan Zhang. McGregor finished a gassed Mendes with punches, but one can only correctly assume that Mendes with a full camp and time to gameplan for Conor would've led to a fully-fledged whooping by someone so small that he can only be observed through a petri dish. Besides, there's nothing impressive about beating a high-caliber opponent on two weeks notice. Nothing at all.

Jose Aldo - KO (punches) at :13 of round 1

Why I'm not impressed: Where do I start? Well it's definitely a lucky punch. Anyone can get caught and Aldo was just reckless and ran into Conor's fist. It's basically an MMA adaptation of drunk Jon Jones driving into a telephone pole. As we've learned, Jose's chin isn't up to snuff, and I think that's down to USADA testing. I'm a big believer in the eye test, which is why I've worn glasses for half my life. Take a look at Aldo's physique for the Chad Mendes rematch, and then plaster your pupils to the right to see how he looked in the McGregor fight. The difference in body type is staggering.

Lots of shady stuff going on here, in my opinion. Perhaps pre-USADA Aldo would've absorbed that punch with ease, or perhaps he would've knocked Conor out in faster fashion than Conor knocked him out. All I know is that Aldo is without a win since the UFC brought USADA on board. Coincidence? I think not.


Conor McGregor's entire UFC record is completely fool's gold and it's the luck of the Irish that he's even in the UFC at all, much less a champion. He has no jiu-jitsu to speak of, can't strike with anyone who isn't demonstrably smaller than him, reacts poorly to getting hit, and the only time he's ever shown heart is when he fought through a damaged ACL to stop a two-time title challenger.

I've seen through McGregor's ruse. He talks a big game but he sure as hell didn't back it up against Nate Diaz. The first quality grown-up he fights, he falters. Lest we forget that he still has highly formidable challengers at 145, most notably Darren Elkins, Hacran Dias, and Tatsuya Kawajiri, all of whom can take him down and grind him out at will if not submit him. Knocking out one of the greatest fighters of all-time in record-setting fashion is okay if you're into that sort of thing, but that means nothing if he can't stop a double leg.

Saturday night was a great moment for MMA. The charade is over thanks to the heroics of Mr. Diaz, and now we can finally see McGregor's rapid descent into obscurity once he has to actually fight credible opponents coming off full fight camps. If you were a believer in "Mystic Mac", you've been making a big Mys-take, but that doesn't mean you can't learn from it and see it the way Mr. Samano and I do.