UFC 196 was an eagerly anticipated event, and one could say that lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos getting injured actually improved the card in terms of interest and potential for chaos after he was substituted by Nate Diaz. What we got was an event that had some outstanding finishes and some middling fights here and there, but it was all worth it. History was made, just not how most people expected it.
The night was a big win for BJJ. Both Holly Holm and Conor McGregor were the better strikers and heavy favourites in the build up, however, both succumbed to BJJ techniques, namely, the rear naked choke.
While Holly Holm lost everything in her fight with Meisha Tate, Conor McGregor (despite losing) was the biggest winner of the night.
What? You thought he’d be listed as a loser?
The Irishman got paid big cash to stay in the main event and get what we can reasonably expect to be enormous PPV numbers. Yes, he lost – but it was outside his division on less than two weeks’ notice. It may not pass for fans like you or me as good reasoning, but it’s defensible PR. No title was on the line, and we all watched anyway. Guess what? It was awesome. He’s still the biggest star in combat sports, still transcends the usual MMA media to end up on CNBC of all places to hype the fight. That’s still a winner in my book.
But who’s next for the brash Irishman?
McGregor alluded at the post fight press conference that he would drop back to featherweight for his next fight to defend his title, and possibly “shut him (Aldo) up one more time”. At UFC 194 Aldo suffered a devastating 13 second KO defeat to McGregor. The Irishman bounced the Brazilian’s head off the canvas “like a basketball”, so is it a good idea for him for fight?
The next option is Frankie Edgar. Edgar is possibly a worse match up for McGregor than Aldo because of his elite wrestling background. Edgar who is the former lightweight champion, has been calling McGregor out for months and feels that he’s the next in line… But he’s got a groan injury that could leave him out of action for a months.
McGregor has dominated the featherweight division and has wins over three of the top 5 contenders. The next option is Ricardo Lamas, the number 5 ranked contender. He has a professional record of 16-4 and has wins over Diego Sanchez, Dennis Bermudez, Hacran Dias and has gone 5 rounds with Jose Aldo – It’s safe to say he’s no slouch in the octagon.
Lamas has been making fun of McGregor since the day he arrived in the UFC with his parody video titled – “The Delirious Conrad McGillicutty”. I hope they make this fight happen and McGregor gets him back for this abomination. It’s a travesty and almost embarrassing to watch.
Credit: Matthew C. Scaro Productions