Before the UFC 178 event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday night the verdict of many MMA journalists and fighters was that Conor McGregor was either a serious prospect with star power who was yet to be tested or that he was an over-hyped loud-mouth who would fail to hurdle the first serious obstacle placed in front of him by the UFC. That hurdle being the division’s number five Dustin Poirier.
The 26-year old Dubliner dispatched the 25-year old Poirier in less than two minutes, at sometime around 4am here in Ireland and the UK, on one of the most highly-anticipated pay-per-view cards of the year. For many this heralds the arrival of McGregor as an elite fighter in the elite MMA organisation. The Notorious southpaw received praise and congratulations from a wide range of celebrities, fighters and other people of interest. Several of whom were certain Poirier would expose the Irish fighter for the fraud they hoped he was but clearly isn’t.
His brazen and unapologetic self-belief doesn’t sit well with some but then not everyone liked Muhammed Ali’s outspoken confidence either, particularly in his early days. McGregor is a long way off proving he deserves to be mentioned alongside the boxing legend when it comes to what he’s achieved inside the ring but outside of it the Irishman is displaying a similar knack for getting people interested in seeing him fight. The tickets cost the same whether you’re there to see him win or lose.
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