Ten percent of all ticket sales for UFC 178 were sold in Ireland. The Irish travelled in their droves to witness the biggest test of Conor McGregor’s UFC career, and he passed with flying tri-colours. Dustin Poirier came ready to fight landing a hard left hand and two leg kicks early while McGregor showed off his impressive array of spinning kicks. It was shaping up to be an exciting back and forth affair until two left hooks dropped Poirier, Conor went in for the finish and just like that the McGregor hype train roared on.

Many comparisons were immediately made between Conor and various other well knows Irish athletes. Between Conor and legendary boxers, but any long time MMA fan will have seen shades of former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva in McGregor’s style, movement and calm demeanour. Hands low by his sides, devastating one punch power and the ability to shake off any absorbed shots, adding a little shake of the head to follow, the mind games never end. Following the win he took to the mic to call for a UFC featherweight title shot, drop a mystic meg reference and call for an event to take place in a football stadium in Dublin.

The post fight press conference continued to be the McGregor show as the rest of the fighters on the dais looked bored as the questions rolled in one after another for the Irishman. He was respectful and humble in his answers, while still calling for that title shot. In his own words, ‘I’m cocky in prediction, humble in victory or defeat.’ He also took the chance to acknowledge and thank his opponent Dustin Poirier for the fight.

October 25th is the date that Irish fans will want to mark on their calendars. UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo will defend his belt against Chad Mendez in Brazil. A tough fight to predict, Aldo will be the favourite having knocked out Mendez in their first encounter back in 2012. Conor McGregor will be in attendance that night cage side, a special guest of the UFC. Without reading too much into this, it could possibly set up a potential title shot for McGregor, he certainly believes it will. Be it a football stadium in Ireland or back at the MGM Grand in Vegas, a title fight or a number one contender bout, It’s all happening for the Dublin native and no one can say he hasn’t earned it.

For a fight that lasted less than two minutes and aired at 04:30 in Ireland, it garnered a huge amount of national attention. I never thought I’d witness the UFC on the Six One News. The McGregor train roars on, carrying the hopes of Ireland along with it. The questions have been answered, and now there’s no telling how far this thing can go. One thing is for sure, Conor is loving every second of it.

‘I love proving people wrong and proving my supporters right. This is all fun and games to me. I love it. I love my job. I whoop people for truckloads of cash. how could I hate this life? I love it so much. I’m grateful every single day’ – Conor McGregor.


Philip Hanna

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