Conor McGregor stuns Jose Aldo in 13 seconds to take UFC featherweight title

October 21, 2016

Conor McGregor stopped Jose Aldo with one spectacular punch just 13 seconds into the first round, backing up his bravado and claim the undisputed featherweight title

Conor McGregor boasted over and over again what would happen when Jose Aldo stood across from him in the octagon. But even the 27 -year-old Irishman never went in so far as to predict that Aldo, undefeated in 18 bouts going back to 2005, would be knocked out cold in 13 seconds.

Thats precisely what happened on Saturday night inside a rabid MGM Grand Garden Arena, where a swathe of McGregors countrymen gathered to watch a result many grew convinced, largely through the power of McGregors demeanor and words, was inevitable.

But even the most hardcore of disciples could not have foreseen McGregor smoothly slipping and parrying a righthand result from the Brazilian, then coming across with an immaculately timed left that distorted Aldos jaw and flung him unconscious to the canvas.

It was, to be dramatic, the most Conor McGregor moment yet. And thats saying something because during the Dubliners UFC career , now totalling seven fightings since 2013, the Notorious One has produced many worth remembering.

FIGHTERSXCHANGE (@ fightersxchange) December 13, 2015

UFC 194: Conor McGregor def. Jose Aldo via knockout( punches) – Round 1, 0:13 #andnew #fightersxchange #ufc #mma pic.twitter.com/ TBo1yVfzBz

No power, just accuracy, said a matter-of-fact McGregor, who reacted to the stunning victory as if it was simple destiny. No speed, just day. Thats all it takes. These are four-ounce gloves. Thats all it takes.

A keen commentator of motion and body mechanics, of numbers and sequences, McGregor has separated himself from the pack by going about things his own style. Resulting up to the fight, he spoke of the 29 year-old Aldo , now 25 -2 as a professional mixed martial artist, as just another adversary. This, according to the men who faced Aldo and lost, was preposterous. The Brazilian is athletically gifted. A speedy and hard puncher. A monster kicker. A black belt jiu-jitsu grappler. Again, though, it was McGregor who was proved correct. Ridiculously so.

Hes strong and hes fast but accuracy beats power and timing beats speed, McGregor said, nary a clue of sweat on his forehead. I feel for Jose. He was a phenomenal champion. He deserved to go a little bit longer It would have happened sooner or later.

Aldo, hemorrhaging from a cut on the bridge of his nose, slumped in his corner. This is a landmark moment not only for McGregor but for Zuffa, which promotes the UFC. After years of search, the Las Vegas-based promotion eventually has its first European superstar one they can expect to sell out stadia and make mega-rich bouts for years to come.

Conor McGregor celebrates his victory over Jose Aldo. Photograph: Steve Marcus/ Getty Images

In the moments prior to the left hand that shook up the MMA world, Aldo basically ignored McGregor, who improved his record to 18 -2. He never looked up at the pacing, jawing, smiling Irishman clad in tight green shorts. Aldo craned his neck and stared at the floor, confident, to be sure, that he would do what he had always done. He did this as they met for one more face to face possibility in the centre of the enclosure. And, against his will, he did so as he arched forward and collapsed to the canvas.

I threw a punch and he came back with a cross. We require a rematch, Aldo said. It wasnt a fight so we needed to get back in there.

But it was a fight. And it was perfect. Not simply in its executing but in that it adds so much to the McGregor lore. Thirteen seconds. Against a man who hadnt lost in over a decade. Yes, that happened.

The UFC will have options for McGregor. An Aldo rematch is marketable, especially so if they bring McGregors first undisputed title defense to Dublin. But McGregor has shown himself capable of selling any battle, and former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar may well be his next adversary. Edgar won his fifth straight battle at 145 lbs on Friday night in Las Vegas, after which he was told by UFC president Dana White that he would get the next shot at the title.

The wild result capped a tremendous UFC 194 card in Las Vegas, which thanks to McGregors presence produced a $10.1 m gate.

In a highly competitive co-headliner, UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman failed to retain his belt after Californias Luke Rockhold stimulated the most of a terrible mistake on the part of the New Yorker.

The mistake came in round three, when Weidman, a straightforward and talented fighter who dethroned Anderson Silva in 2014, slung an ill-timed fight- and life-changing wheel kick. Weidman absence the proper range to launch such an attack, and it defined him up to be taken down to the canvas for the first time in his UFC career. Rockhold, a talented grappler and a former Strikeforce middleweight champion, throttled Weidman from the mount, busting up the New Yorker with punches and elbows that resulted in a bad cut on the forehead and a right eye that rapidly swelled.

Luke Rockhold launches an attack on Chris Weidman. Photograph: Brandon Magnus/ Zuffa LLC/ Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

After swapping the first and second rounds, and with Rockhold logging a clearly dominant third period, Weidman was ready to be put away as the action headed to the championship rounds. Previously unbeaten in 13 fightings, Weidman was taken down again by Rockhold and was forced to fight from his back. He didnt answer the challenge, and Rockhold slammed hard punches into the former champions face before referee Herb Dean intervened at the 3:12 mark.

He shouldnt be trying that kind of stuff on me, Rockhold said of Weidmans failed kick, one of the worst championship battle missteps in UFC history. I knew if I got top control on him I believe Im operating on another level than anyone.

Rockhold said he suffered from a staph infection during the two weeks leading up to the fight and was on antibiotics, but his performance did not indicate he was off one bit. In fact it was Weidman who seemed to suffer more, showing signs of tirednes after a relatively good opening five minutes. Rockhold( 15 -2) pressed the action in the second round, employing his long legs to slam kicks to Weidmans body and head. And though most were blocked, there was unquestionably a price to pay.

In the third, Weidman, 31, appeared to regain momentum. Then he threw the lazy kick, which required him to spin, though he scarcely did that allowing the challenger to grab him and rack up enough injury that the referee would not have been justified if he had stopped the contest there and then. Dean, however, did not. It was the right call considering Weidmans pedigree, though there would be no rallying from this.

I recollect throwing that, said Weidman, who was cut on in two places on his face by the time the ferocity was done. He caught me and brought me down with it. Likely wasnt the smartest move. Im going to go out here and dedicate everything I have.

If I lose its my day to lose.

Rockhold may face Cubas Yoel Romero in his first defense. The powerful middleweight and Olympic wrestler hung on to defeat Brazilian Ronaldo Jacare Souza in the fight preceding Weidmans first loss.

Defeat is something Aldo must now adapt to on a night when new blood McGregor and Rockhold reigned.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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