It was a night that had been hyped for what seems like ages. Conor McGregor versus Jose Aldo, a man many consider one of, if not the, top pound for pound fighters on the planet. Never before has the UFC invested so heavily in promoting a fight, and after all of the talk, rafter all of the PR tours, after all of the delays, the fight finally happened.
Jose Aldo vs Conor McGregor (Winner by KO)
And in the time you took to read that, the fight was over. Yes, Conor McGregor came out and in a mere 13 seconds, had knocked out Aldo with a left hook, followed up by a couple of exclamation point punches on the ground. Somewhere Sinead O’Connor started singing and ripping up a picture of Jose.
One punch KO for Conor McGregor. Fight over. pic.twitter.com/velehywXKf
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) December 13, 2015
In many ways, it was the perfect way for Conor to end the fight. After all, he has always claimed he talks the talk and walks the walk. What better way to prove you can back up what you say, then by knocking out the champ in 13 seconds flat?
Afterwards, Conor stated nobody can handle his left, and so far he’s been correct. He said he won the fight because precision beats power and timing beats speed, which even though it was a short fight, was accurate. The quick left hook Conor used to end the fight brought to mind Anderson Silva’s destruction of Forrest Griffin, where Silva didn’t use speed or power but timing and precision, to break the spirit of Griffin forever.
Before the fight even started, Conor looked loose and as cocky as ever, like he was playing the part of The Joker in a high school play. Aldo looked quiet, which isn’t out of the ordinary, but during the meet in the middle of the ring, he refused to look Conor in the eyes, as he kept his head down the entire time.
Now maybe that was to focus on the fight, maybe it was to protect himself from having to deal with any of Conor’s antics, but it also brought to mind when GSP refused to look at Hughes in their first match. GSP went on to lose and he pointed out later in his career that he couldn’t look Hughes in the eyes that first fight because the moment got to him.
Did all of Conor’s antics get to Aldo after all? It seemed like the entire build up to the fight was an armchair quarterbacks dream, as people began debating who was getting into whose head. Most people felt Conor was getting into Aldo’s, but at the weigh ins on Friday, Aldo looked calm and composed, and mocked McGregor’s fighting stance. This caused McGregor to feint kicks at Aldo, which had people swinging the other way.
ALDO vs MCGREGOR!!! Tonight on PPV! pic.twitter.com/nima3r2jbo
— Dana White (@danawhite) December 12, 2015
“Did you see Conor react to Aldo’s taunt? Aldo got in his head.”
UFC commentator Joe Rogan even confirmed that there was a late flurry of bets put on Aldo due to that stare down.
In the end, all that matters is that Conor was victorious, and nobody can take that away from him. The next chapter in Conor’s life will be the most interesting, though, as Conor has completed the chase. Will he maintain the same energy holding the belt as he did chasing it? We will soon find out.
Where do they go from here?
Jose Aldo for his part, tried to brush off the fight as a flash KO and nothing more. “I think we need a rematch, it wasn’t a fight.” he told Rogan during his post fight interview. Aldo, who had spent much of the post fight crying with a towel over his head, was obviously very shaken up by the loss.
Sour grapes or not, people will be clamoring for a rematch. As awesome as it is to think of a world where Conor can get even more egotistical about a win, a fight that went several rounds with Conor dominating would have been a more definitive statement to some. Not that a 13 second KO isn’t a statement, but you’ll always have people wondering if this was just a Dos Santos win over Cain type moment. Maybe in a re-match Aldo can showcase why he was the reigning champion for so long.
Will Dana White be so quick to offer up a rematch? As of 20 minutes after the fight, White hasn’t had time to say. He was quick to offer Ronda a rematch with Holly Holm, but Ronda is in his inner circle of “awesome people I love having lunch with.” Aldo has never been on the greatest terms with the UFC (he’s been openly critical of the Reebok deal for one), so Dana might not be in such a rush to set up a rematch.
That being said, you have to think the biggest money is in the rematch. And unlike the Ronda fight, where Holm DID dominate Ronda thoroughly over a couple of rounds, this was a flash KO. You can easily play that up as a possible fluke and use that story line to sell the next PPV.
Or does Connor go up a weight class? He looked like Christian Bale in the Machinist at the weigh ins, and he’s the kind of guy that would love to be notorious for dominating in two different weight classes. Maybe he leaves 145 behind him? UFC lost their superfight with GSP vs Anderson Silva, so maybe they cash in now on Conor vs the winner of the Cerrone/RDA fight.
In the meantime, Dana White can rest easy knowing he didn’t lose Ronda and Conor within two months of each other. He looked clinically depressed after Ronda lost, I can only imagine what an Aldo domination would have done to him.
Chris Weidman vs Luke Rockhold (Winner by TKO)
Coming into this fight, Rockhold spoke like a man trying to convince himself he had what it took to beat Weidman, something Weidman said several times. I admit, I thought Rockhold wasn’t going to be able to do anything against the powerful champion.
And in the first round, it played out how I thought it would. Weidman looked far stronger than Rockhold, and it seemed like once he started unloading, it would just be a matter of time before Rockhold got tagged and went to sleep.
Except it never happened. Rockhold said Weidman would be slow. He looked slow. Rockhold said he was a superior athlete. He looked like the superior athlete. Rockhold backed up everything he said before the fight. He began carving out the side of Weidman with kicks like it was Christmas dinner. He went for head kicks, he went for leg kicks, he went for body kicks. All with a casual, slightly bored look on his face.
And it began adding up. Weidman responded with kicks of his own, but they weren’t as effective. Some of the kicks Rockhold just kind of looked at Chris with disdain, as if offended he even bothered throwing them. Eventually Weidman went for a spinning kick (and if we’re using past fights as references tonight, reminded me of Sonnen’s odd attempt at a spinning back fist on Anderson Silva in their second fight) and Rockhold avoided it and used that to take Weidman to the ground. Or as Chris calls it “that strange place where everything hurts.”
Rockhold then began ground and pounding Weidman like there was no tomorrow. It began raining elbows and punches and blood as Rockhold tried to end the fight. Chris had no answer and just tried to survive the beating, which for some reason Herb Dean allowed. If it was a non title fight, they would have called it, but the Randy Couture champion’s advantage was on full display tonight.
Herb Dean saving Weidman did nothing but delay the inevitable, though, as Rockhold went right back to work in the fourth round. Weidman, who at this point was just dreaming about what life was like when he had energy, got pressed against the cage and taken down, where Rockhold began his daily ritual of face punching, eventually forcing Herb Dean to call the fight.
Yoel Romero (Winner by split decision) vs Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
Souza had been putting together an impressive run in the UFC (eight wins in a row) and was going up against Romero, who had a not too shabby six wins in a row himself.
The big talk going into this fight was the always evolving striking game of Souza. Not just a ground specialist, Souza was beginning to mix in some knockouts to his arsenal. This made for a fun match up against Yoel Romero, who looks like an end boss in a Final Fight video game. Not only does the guy look huge, but the majority of his wins in MMA are due to his striking.
— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) December 13, 2015
It ended up being a close fight, despite looking like it might be over in the first round. Romero landed a spinning back fist, yes let’s play the past fight game reference again, that resembled Shonie Carter’s infamous spinning backfist on Matt Serra.
It put Souza down, and Yoel proceeded to go full Donkey Kong punching mode on the ground, but was unable to stop the fight.
The second round both men breathed really heavy and looked at the clock a lot.
Then the third round Souza was more active, and probably won the round, but again, lots of breathing and looking at clocks took place.
In the end, a split decision was awarded to Yoel Romero, most likely halting Souza’s talk of a title fight opportunity.
Demian Maia (Winner by decision) vs Gunnar Nelson
You know when you were a kid, and you wrestled your Dad, and he pretended to let you win for a bit, but he pretty much controlled the entire situation?
Demian Maia was Gunnar Nelson’s Dad tonight.
— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) December 13, 2015
In what was billed as a grappling chess match, it looked more like Gunnar was playing checkers. And that’s not to say Gunnar was awful, it was just that Demian was so good. He was always in control and never seemed to be in any danger. For most of the fight Demian took it to the ground and switched from back control to full mount, mixing in punches and elbows like small horrible surprises for Gunnar each time.
The fight went three rounds, and it’s a testament to Gunnar that he didn’t let himself be submitted. But it honestly did feel like he had mentally checked out in the third round and his dying wish was “don’t let him submit me.” It was the moral victory of breaking a shutout in a hockey game that you get blown out in.
After the fight, Maia stated his case for a title fight, then explained in broken English how he thinks the way the current UFC ranks fighters is pure garbage. He was much nicer about it, but he was essentially taking a giant dump on UFC rankings, with which most everyone agrees with. He actually wants the UFC to come up with a more scientific way of creating rankings, rather than Dana White deciding by going with whose at the top of his phone book.
Max Holloway (Winner by decision) vs Jeremy Stephens
— ATSteveDuncan® (@ATSteveDuncan) December 11, 2015
This was a bit of a tepid fight. Max Holloway’s tiny faint mustache distracted me for most of the first round, but once I got past that, it ended up being a decent fight. Nothing you’d write home about, but you might bring it up on a first date if you ran out of things to talk about.
Stephens, who has tremendous power, spent a lot of the fight looking for that knockout punch. If only he’d talked to McGregor and learned about precision over power…
Holloway, who has been racking up the wins lately, got his eighth win in a row with tonight’s victory. He even called for a title shot after his match was over, which isn’t shocking in that who wouldn’t want a title fight, he remembers what Conor promised.
“I can make you rich,” McGregor crowed at dos Anjos. “I’ll change your bum life. When you sign to fight me, it’s a celebration. You ring back home, you ring your wife – baby, we’ve done it. We’re rich, baby. Conor McGregor made us rich. Break out the red panties.”