When the Octagon door slams shut on December 12, the Vegas Strip will be at the focal point of global attention, as Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor finally settle a rivalry which has captivated the masses and transcended the sport to a whole new level.
A battle of Brazil and Ireland will determine the unified Featherweight Champion of the world. It's a spectacle with all the makings of a perfect storm: a supreme ruler with a decade of domination in the division up against an irresistible force who has encapsulated a nation on his meteoric rise to fame.
We thought it was poised to be a grand occasion the first time round. All was building to a monumental summer's night at the MGM Grand. Stemming from an infamous cage hop in Boston to a ground-breaking world tour, everything was in place for a historic moment.
Everything of course, except Jose Aldo. A rib injury sustained more than three weeks from fight night put UFC 189's marquee matchup in jeopardy, and eventually it would lead to the Featherweight kingpin withdrawing, as Chad Mendes stepped in to duke it out with "The Notorious" for the interim strap.
On what remained to be an astonishing evening under the bright lights in Vegas, McGregor fulfilled yet another prophecy. He knocked out Mendes in the final moments of the second round to capture the world championship. As fate would have it, his fight with Aldo would go off the scales in anticipation. The fight being delayed only made things so much bigger.
With both competitors well-proven as mixed martial artists, and their resolves unbreakable, whoever loses will not go down without a fight. But someone must walk away without any gold to their name.
Jose Aldo's legitimacy is unquestionable. There's not a doubt about it. He's the only Featherweight World Champion in the history of the organization. Every combatant who has shared the Octagon with him has been beaten, on most occasions they are comprehensive victories.
Many hardcore fanatics of the sport will, however, question the legitimacy of Conor McGregor. His trash-talk and antics have certainly riled up every opponent and put him on a fast-track to a unification bout, but it does not reduce the fact that he has knocked out all but one of his opponents. A second-round knockout to Chad Mendes, where The Notorious came from behind to capture the interim strap shows that McGregor is more than capable of being the man to dethrone Aldo.
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Should he get knocked out by the Irishman in Las Vegas on December 12, Aldo's legacy may no longer be a legacy, rather a story of a man who paved way, and crumbled in the path of an unstoppable force. He may just be remembered as the man who Conor McGregor beat, and nothing more. Exposure was provided to him by the Irishman, and it could be taken from him with a loss.
Speaking of which, a win for Conor McGregor would truly kickstart his era. Financially, things will only get bigger and bigger. He broke records at the Fight Night event in Boston, before smashing the numbers when he defeated Chad Mendes. All that set up for a unification bout of epic proportions, one that will be easy on the eye in terms of cash, and one that will be far from the pinnacle of his earnings.
It's not just money, though. Conor has referred to himself as the greatest pound-for-pound fighter on planet earth. If that's the case, there's no better way to reiterate that statement than to beat the man who currently holds that position, Jose Aldo. If the Irishman was to halt the over-a-decade of dominance then truly he'll be a great.
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But when you have a whole nation religiously backing you and fans who will see every fight now regardless, Conor McGregor could recover from a loss much easier than his opponent. He can rebuild, maybe jump to Lightweight and start conquering again. As for Aldo, all of his accomplishments could sink with a loss.
It remains clear that whoever loses will suffer the biggest loss of their life and vice versa for the winner. When Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor collide the world and fans will watch with intrigue and excitement, but the Brazilian has just that little bit more to fight for. Jose Aldo needs the win more.