It was billed as the biggest event of the year if not ever for the UFC and all the weight of it was placed upon the shoulders of Conor McGregor. The man the call “Notorious” did not let the weight slow him down as he did what he said he would do all along and claim UFC gold. After months of media obligations and a last-minute change of opponent, Conor McGregor can now call himself a UFC champion.
The biggest knock on McGregor was that the UFC was protecting him from the best wrestlers in the division in fear of him being dominated on he ground. On Saturday that seemed to be the case as Mendes was able to control McGregor on the ground and looked to be well on his way to a victory. All that changed in a matter of seconds as McGregor capitalized on a bad position move from Mendes and got back to his feet.
Once the fight got back to the feet the precise striking of McGregor proved too much for Mendes to handle and the Irish-born fighter delivered on his promise of a knockout win.
The UFC marketing machine has been firmly behind McGregor and after Saturday you can fully expect it to go into over drive to further brighten their star. Coming into Saturday all McGregor had to do was win to justify any and every dollar the UFC has spent marketing him. Outside of the octagon McGregor can more than take care of himself. He is charismatic, great in interviews, and dresses outstanding. He is everything a star should be.
Now the sky is the limit for McGregor and you can bet that the UFC will squeeze every penny out of him until he meets Jose Aldo to unify the featherweight championship. Expect to see him in more commercials and events representing the UFC to the best of his ability. As long as he does not turn into a Jon Jones type of situation there is no reason why the UFC will stop backing McGregor with all they have.
As for Mendes, this was his third loss in a title fight and the second in which he has been knocked out. There is no doubt that he has the skill to get to the doorstep but when it comes to getting through the door, he continues to fall short.
On the business side of things Mendes is a made man. He bailed out the UFC when they desperately needed an opponent for McGregor after Jose Aldo pulled out. Dana White and the UFC have always shown gratitude and appreciation for fighters who take fights on short notice. That should well be the case for Mendes. He will still receive only the top of the division and will always be on the brink of another title shot but how many times can you be a bridesmaid and never a bride before something needs to change?