LAS VEGAS – The winner of Saturday’s featherweight title fight at UFC 194 was to join former women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey on the cover of the EA Sports' "UFC 2" video game.
It will be the sport’s two biggest stars on the cover after Conor McGregor knocked out long-reigning champion Jose Aldo in a Rousey-like 13 seconds in a stunning finish before a deliriously happy crowd at the MGM Grand Garden.
The colorful, trash-talking McGregor, who taunted Aldo for months and predicted he’d walk through everyone in the division, proved to be a man of his word.
He caught Aldo with a perfectly placed counter left hook that sent the Brazilian crashing to the mat. One hammer fist later, referee John McCarthy stopped it and the large Irish contingent erupted in song, toasting the new champion.
“He’s powerful and he’s fast, but precision beats power and timing beats speed,” McGregor said. “He deserved to go a little bit longer, but it was going to happen eventually.”
From the moment he arrived in the UFC in 2013, not long after getting off public assistance in his native Ireland, McGregor vowed he’d shoot to the top of the sport.
His trash talking outraged many fans, who said he hadn’t fought anyone and didn’t like his many boasts.
But as the competition level increased, the results stayed the same. He knocked out Chad Mendes in the second round in July at UFC 189 after Aldo pulled out because of a rib injury. It was no contest on Saturday, as McGregor was too fast and too precise for Aldo.
Aldo hadn’t lost for 10 years, since losing a lightweight fight in Brazil in 2005, and he was widely regarded as the sport’s best fighter. But there is going to be a new entrant in that discussion.
And though the fight didn’t last particularly long, McGregor showed the value of power.
“That’s all it takes, especially when you have my left hand,” the one-time apprentice plumber said. “No one can take my left hand.”
Aldo, who had been infuriated by McGregor’s antics during a summer media tour, said he hoped to meet the Irishman again.
It may come at a higher weight, since both have difficulty making the featherweight limit of 145.
“That was that,” Aldo said. “We need a rematch. That was not a fight, so we need to get in there again.”
It was a fight, and one that sent thousands home wildly happy. It’s just that after getting clobbered, Aldo didn’t remember it.