Conor McGregor: Will He Rebound or Fall at UFC 202?

This picture sums up Conor McGregor’s last fight in the UFC. Jumping up two weight classes, the UFC Featherweight champion took on welterweight fighter Nate Diaz. The drastic weight gain and hype did not help McGregor as he lost in the second round via submission. He was humbled and the hype momentarily stopped. But McGregor, as one would expect, did not stay silent for long.

Unlike Ronda Rousey, who has stayed relatively quiet since being upset and losing her championship, McGregor was soon back on the microphone and trying to set up a rematch with Diaz. And he was given that rematch at UFC 200, the biggest UFC card of the year. But Conor didn’t show up to fulfill his media obligations and the fight was pulled off the card and postponed until UFC 202. With the event taking place this Saturday, the time for McGregor to back up his infamous trash talking is now.

If McGregor loses to Diaz again, the luster is sure to disappear. McGregor’s best asset is his mouth. He is one of the best talkers in all sports. But if he cannot back up what he says, fans will begin to ignore his trash talk. And without some truth behind his trash talking, Conor McGregor, in my opinion, is just another UFC fighter. If he wins, no problem. He will have conquered his lose to Diaz from March and will be one of few men that can lay claim to winning in two different weight classes. But, if he loses again, it will be time for McGregor to go back to the featherweight division and prove that he can at least still win there.

Actually, win or lose, Dana White has already said that his next fight will be for the Featherweight championship against interim champion Jose Aldo. And that is where he should be. He won that championship in December of 2015 and has yet to defend it while other titles are seemingly defended every six months or so. Also won the interim title at UFC 200 and is surely looking to avenge his lose to McGregor from last year. And with the matchup looming, it is time for McGregor to prove that he is a marquee name for UFC or just a fighter with a lot to say.

UFC 202 also features matches from big names like Anthony “Rumble” Johnson and Donald “The Cowboy” Cerrone, but it is no secret that people who tune in this Saturday night will be watching to see Conor McGregor. And in my opinion, it is a huge fight for him. Actually, it is a huge fight for the UFC as well. After a mostly disappointing UFC 200, the UFC is looking for a showcase match. And right now, McGregor is the guy to do it. Short of a Rousey comeback, this is the person people want to see everytime he is on a card.

So, it is time to leave the WWE wrestlers alone. It is time to leave the talking behind, except for whatever press conferences are ahead of course. And it is time to put an exclamation point on the fact that you are the main attraction in the UFC. Lose and you are slowly eroding in a deep pool of talented fighters. Win and prove why you are “The Notorious” Conor McGregor. Personally, I am picking McGregor to win. But, if the past is any indication, and it usually is, stars can burn bright in the UFC. But they can also burn fast. Attention spans are shorter than they ever have been and a lose may put the great Irish fighter out of the public consciousness. Again, I think he will avenge his lose. And I hope for him and the overall popularity of the $4 billion company that I am right because he sure is fun to watch.

Daryl Karpinski, Jr.