Taking the #6 spot on this Top 10 list of the UFC’s best fighter’s of the 2010’s, is former lightweight and featherweight champion, ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor. The Dubliner shot to stardom almost instantly upon his Octagon bow in 2014 against Marcus Brimage, securing an opening-round knockout. The slick finish was followed by one of the most infamous and many sound-bites the counter-striker has provided over the years. “Dana, fifty G’s baby haha.” McGregor coolly collected his fight purse, and that Knockout of the Night bonus to boot in Stockholm afterward.
McGregor’s opening spot on this highly-competitive list was less than a formality, but the achievements the 30-year-old has managed after just six years with the promotion are undeniable. The Crumlin native will attempt to lodge his tenth win under the UFC banner at UFC 246 in January, as he meets Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, and edge his way closer to championship gold once more. The SBG star has been involved in some of the most iconic matches the Octagon has played host to, and has entertained fans globally with his pre-fight press conference antics. He’s only lost twice inside the Octagon, to Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Nate Diaz, the latter he’s now level with after their UFC 202 rematch, and he’s also claimed three championships during his time in the organization.
At UFC 189, McGregor, who was initially scheduled to meet José Aldo, was paired with Chad Mendes on two-weeks notice after the Brazilian ejected from the main event tie due to a rib injury. Rallying against the wrestling prowess of Mendes, ‘The Notorious’ one launched a second round barrage to stop the former title chaser with a handful of seconds remaining on the clock. McGregor claimed the interim featherweight strap, and would go on to cement featherweight supremacy in one of the most shocking and defying moments in the sport’s young history.
That December, McGregor returned to Las Vegas at UFC 194, where he finally met with Aldo in a unification tie. Within a staggering thirteen seconds of the opening round, McGregor had dropped the Brazilian icon with a counter left hand before finishing with strikes. He’d called his shot months prior and delivered on his promise as he handed Aldo his first defeat in the promotion, and first loss in just over ten years. McGregor also followed up on his promise to become a two-weight world champion in the UFC.
At UFC 205 in November of 2016, it proved to be a landmark occasion for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The event would be the promotion’s first-ever bout in the state of New York City, and the main event also produced the promotion’s premier two-weight world champion held simultaneously. Eddie Alvarez had just snatched the 155-pound crown from the incumbent champion, Rafael dos Anjos in first-round fashion. In his first attempted defense, ‘The Underground King’ was matched with McGregor.
Within the opening round, the sheer gulf in class between the two was frighteningly apparent. Alvarez had been sat down three times by the Dubliner’s counter strikes in the pocket, and it seemed a matter of when, rather than if McGregor would make promotional history. Midway through the second frame, McGregor sprang once more with a picture-perfect combination to flatten the Philidelphia native, becoming the first two-weight world champion in the process. Off the back of that legacy sealing win, McGregor took a step back from the sport in the following year, as he pursued a lucrative, record-shattering boxing match with the undefeated Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather Jr.
Despite his recent. well-documented excursions with the law and boundary-pushing rivalry with the previously mentioned Khabib Nurmagomedov, there is simply no denying the mystique surrounding McGregor during his rise to Octagon stardom and with a victory over Cerrone on January 18th. the ever needed momentum which has catapulted him to success returns in an instant.
On-form, McGregor is undoubtedly one of the most dangerous forces in mixed-martial-arts and has introduced the sport to a whole new audience, and for that reason, he takes the #6 spot in this Top 10 list. The sheer inactivity of McGregor over the last three years which have seen him feature just once in the Octagon, has undoubtedly forced a drop in stature on this list. If this list consisted of the most influential mixed-martial-artists of the decade, there is no doubt Conor McGregor takes the #1 spot. This list details in my estimation, the best fighters of the decade, a top that eludes McGregor.
Senior writer for FightBook MMA. An aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Producer of news articles, interviews, opinion features, and exclusive features such as, ‘The Fallout’, ‘The Breakdown, and, ‘This Week In MMA’.
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