What a year for “The Notorious” Conor McGregor.
Following an impressive year in 2015, McGregor would end 2016 the same way. McGregor started the year trying to fight then Champion Rafael Dos Anjos for the UFC Lightweight championship. Dos Anjos would drop out of the fight due to injury, which led to Nate Diaz stepping in on short notice. McGregor would take the fight at 170 at UFC 196 and would lose to Nate Diaz via Rear Naked Choke in the second round.
Fans and fighters were critical of McGregor after his loss to Diaz and many felt the hype around McGregor was gone. McGregor would request a rematch at UFC 202 with Diaz at 170, a weight people felt was an advantage for Diaz after their first fight. McGregor would beat Diaz by Majority Decision, in a fight that was praised by fighters and fans alike. Dave Meltzer reported that UFC 202 had broke Pay per view records for the UFC, surpassing other big Pay per views like UFC 196 and UFC 100.
McGregor would then fight Eddie Alvarez for the Lightweight Championship at UFC 205 as the headliner of an impressive card. Many felt this would be the toughest challenge in McGregor’s career due to the wrestling and striking ability of Alvarez. McGregor would dominate and knockout Alvarez in the second round, becoming the first to hold the UFC Featherweight and Lightweight Championship simultaneously. The UFC 205 would also break records including the biggest Live Gate in the history of the UFC and Madison Square Garden with 17.7 Million.
McGregor has also become more popular outside of fighting in 2016. McGregor would become the cover star of EA Sports UFC 2 along with Ronda Rousey and would be featured as a character in Call of Duty Advanced Warfare. McGregor would also spark interest with a potential fight with Boxing’s best Floyd “Money” Mayweather in a fight that has been thought to be the biggest fight in Pay per View history, if it was to happen. The WWE has also caught the attention of McGregor and would like to have McGregor apart of their promotion in the future.
2016 started off rough for McGregor, but by the end of the year he has arguably had better year than 2015. McGregor has become one of the best fighters in the UFC and has become their biggest draw in terms of Pay Per View and Live Gate numbers. Fans are wondering what McGregor will do in 2017 and who he will fight next. Their are still ongoing rumors of a potential Boxing fight with Mayweather and their are also rumors one last fight against Diaz. Plus their are other contenders in the Lightweight Division like Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson that want to fight for the UFC Lightweight Championship. 2016 marked a great year for McGregor, but 2017 looks to potentially be even better.