Conor McGregor is headlining UFC 246 this weekend, but to be honest, it feels a lot different than his most recent outings. Sure, any time he sets foot in the Octagon is a momentous occasion that garners massive attention. For some reason, however, this feels as close to a “normal” fight build-up as McGregor has had since his rise to international stardom. Below are some potential reasons behind why this fight week may feel the way that it does.
Conor McGregor Fight Week: UFC 246
He has lost his aura of invincibility
During McGregor’s rise to fame, his source of drawing power came from his aura of invincibility. From the confidence that he portrayed to his actual performances in the Octagon, The Notorious One looked to be unstoppable in every way. Since knocking out Jose Aldo in December 2015, he has been finished in three out of his last five combat sports appearances. Obviously there is the caveat that one of those finishes was in boxing to the only boxer to ever go 50-0, Floyd Mayweather, but it still contributes. Even his avenged loss in a rematch against Nate Diaz at UFC 202 was a razor-thin decision. Simply put, fight fans are not quite as believing when “Mystic Mac” predicts a knockout like he used to because it is happening less and less.
He is not fighting consistently
This weekend’s fight will only serve as McGregor’s second UFC fight since claiming “champ-champ” status against Eddie Alvarez in 2016. In McGregor’s rise through the ranks, and even up until the Alvarez win, fans could expect to see him perform around three times per year. Now that he is only fighting about once per year, there are less headlines to be made about his in-Octagon performances, and stories about tweets and training can only go so far.
UFC 246 does not have the supporting cast a typical Conor McGregor fight card has
Simply put, the UFC 246 PPV fight card is mediocre. It could even be argued that the ESPN+ prelims could have served as a better PPV lead-in to Conor McGregor’s return. This fight card is especially dim considering all of the previous PPV fight cards that he has headlined, where each had at least one title fight or top-contender bout. Even McGregor vs. Mayweather featured title fights with Badou Jack and Gervonta Davis. UFC 246 does not have these benefits, and it seems to be showing.
There has been no real animosity between McGregor and Cerrone
In fact, it could be argued that McGregor and Donald Cerrone have been cordial towards each other. Not many people in the fight game dislike Cowboy, but the exact opposite can be said about McGregor. The biggest jab landed in this fight build-up was actually not by either fighter, but by Cerrone’s head coach Jafari Vanier. One of the biggest staples of a Conor McGregor fight is his trash-talking of opponents and developing animosity with them, but we have yet to see that so far for this go-around.
Wednesday’s press conference proved to be more of the same, as the two fighters clearly are getting along and respecting each other in the buildup to this fight.
Could fans be growing old of him?
Most of what McGregor has been newsworthy for recently has been for his antics outside of the Octagon. From the infamous dolly throwing incident in Brooklyn at UFC 223, to the video of him punching a man at a Dublin pub, to his most recent sexual assault allegations, he has seemed to become much more disliked by the masses. Moreover, reports emerged prior to his UFC 229 bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov that even Irish fans are growing tired of him. His actions have certainly been abrasive as of late, and that may be translating to a drop in interest.
Make no mistake, Conor McGregor is going to be a top attraction until he eventually retires. However, it seems like there is not as much wind behind his promotional sails for UFC 246. Only time will tell if this trend holds true, but The Notorious’s star may be getting a little dimmer.
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