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Tuesday 6 December 2016

McGregor eyes second title in NYC

Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor prides himself on continuously doing what has never been done before in the young sport of MMA, but a victory at UFC 205 in Madison Square Garden tomorrow night would far exceed any of his previous unprecedented feats.

As the reports from the ground attest, the UFC's first ever show in New York City has been more than a little overshadowed by the not so small matter of Donald Trump being elected President of the United States.

Conor McGregor would likely be at pains to try and recall when he last had to share the spotlight with anyone. But as the Dubiner told American reporters on Wednesday, he "doesn't give a b****cks" about Mr Trump.

WORLD

Nor, for now, should he. If the featherweight champ prevails in the five-round lightweight world title fight against champion Eddie Alvarez, he will become the first man ever to concurrently hold two UFC titles.

Such an undertaking has only been attempted once before, and it ended in resounding failure. However, McGregor, above all else, has shown himself to be immune to the pitfalls of heightened circumstances and, more often than not, it is there where he thrives.

Having bounced back from his chastening submission loss to Nate Diaz by winning the rematch by decision in August, McGregor was quickly paired with Alvarez, an accomplished fighter but one who only the more ardent fans would be familiar with. In many ways, his journey to this juncture has been the polar opposite of McGregor's.

The Philadelphian was fighting professionally for more than a decade before he even reached the UFC, though he won a plethora of titles in various inferior promotions on his way there.

His long-awaited UFC debut ended in defeat, before he earned two hard-fought, but forgettable decision wins. Despite being an overwhelming underdog, he then ruthlessly dethroned then lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos within a round, and he and McGregor have been on a collision course ever since.

McGregor was granted his shot at Alvarez much to the dismay of established contenders in the division, but few could reasonably gripe with matching the pair in the historic main event .

McGregor has spoken at great length about his desire to become a two-weight champion, and there could hardly be a more fitting occasion or venue than the venerated Madison Square Garden.

The Crumlin man is by far the superior striker, though Alvarez is a dogged, smothering grappler and equipped with a concussive right hand.

Questions remain about McGregor's endurance, particularly because he's fighting in a third weight class in less than a year.

The last time he fought at lightweight was New Year's Eve 2012 and, fittingly, on the night in question he became the first fighter to simultaneously hold two world titles in the Cage Warriors promotion.

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