Should UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor beat boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Saturday, it would surely rank as the biggest upset of all time
McGregor may very well be one of the most successful Mixed Martial Artists of all time.
In fact, he entered the record books in Nov. 2016 as the first fighter in UFC history to reign over two separate weight classes at the same time. McGregor blitzed through the featherweight division from 2013 to his final fight at 145 pounds, which was a shocking 13-second knockout of dominant champ Jose Aldo at UFC 194 in Dec 2015.
While the majority of observers felt that the 10-year-unbeaten Aldo was simply a class above, “The Notorious” silenced his critics with a thunderous left cross which left the Brazilian legend flat out on the canvas. The sight of McGregor hammer-fisting a man who had been the only featherweight champion in the history of the promotion – a man who had sat atop of the UFC’s pound-for-pound list – took much longer than 13 seconds for most to process.
McGregor’s rise was truly meteoric. Following the demolition of “Scarface”, McGregor focused his attention towards the UFC’s lightweight title. Given the phenomenal self-promotion and pay-per-view sales which the Dublin-native had accumulated for the promotion, he was pretty much given the carte blanche to do what he wanted. When it was announced that the Irishman would face off against the formidable Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 196, McGregor’s star was set to rise even higher.
Dos Anjos pulled out of the encounter with McGregor with injury, which meant that the Irishman would see his dream of capturing the UFC’s 155-pound strap put on the back burner. Stockton’s own Nate Diaz filled in for Dos Anjos at UFC 196 and shocked many by submitting the Irishman in the second round. The rematch was set for UFC 202 in August 2016 – McGregor narrowly scraped past Diaz in one of the greatest bouts ever seen in the UFC.
The 29-year-old did capture the UFC lightweight title, writing himself into the record books in the process. McGregor would then take a hiatus from MMA in order to await the birth of his first child. One month following the arrival of Conor Jr. in Dublin, it was announced that the Irishman would face Floyd Mayweather Jr. inside the squared circle – a fight was deemed too outlandish to be realized.
On Saturday, McGregor walks into the ring at the T-Mobile Arena in what will go down as one of the strangest but most lucrative combat sporting events in history. While the man who told us ‘anything is possible’ once again proved that he has an uncanny ability to bend life in his favor, the task of beating arguably the greatest boxer that has ever lived will require more than superstition or business acumen. Should McGregor win, then it will go down as the greatest shock in combat sports history…
Or will these guys beg to differ?
In light of the “Money Fight” on Saturday, August 26, we take a look at the five greatest shocks in teh world of combat sports.
(5) Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva 1 (UFC 162)
The majority of fight fans will remember where they were and who they were with when Chris Weidman shocked the world in 2013 to beat Anderson “The Spider” Silva. Silva, at the time, was regarded as next to untouchable, building up a run of 16 consecutive wins and 10 title defenses – still a UFC record.
The greatest middleweight of all time may have taken the challenge of Weidman with a relaxed attitude, showboating and playing to a crowd who (the majority of) had done the same. Weidman was a significant underdog and, although being tipped by a few observers (UFC color commentator Joe Rogan, for one) was deemed to be outside of his comfort zone against Silva.
Weidman, an accomplished wrestler with just nine fights (and wins) on his record, managed to hand possibly the greatest MMA fighter in history his first knockout loss, which ended a seven-year period of dominance in the middleweight division. While a rematch would be set not long after, fate would not be on Silva’s side as he suffered an horrific leg break. The Brazilian would suffer a string of losses following the Weidman bout…