WRITTEN BY SEAN BROWN
|Image: LA Times|
The Irishman KO'd Jose Aldo in 13 seconds inside the hawk-eyed Octagon. Defeating the Brazilian, who has been undefeated for a decade, is a remarkable achievement in itself, but doing it inside 13 seconds is another thing.
Although a few naysayers will continue to lurk in comment sections, it's clear to everyone with a functional cortex that Conor McGregor is the real deal. He didn't just beat Jose Aldo—undefeated for a decade before this—he absolutely dismantled him. In 13 seconds.
Combat sports is all about renewal. The old is, inevitably, replaced by the new. Often by force. It's beautiful and terrible to behold.
But Aldo is still only 29—McGregor 27—the former's not quite ready to be put out to pasture. He still yearns to be great.
Greatness, however, is a product of adversity. This also proved that perhaps Aldo doesn't have that next gear, the one required to dig deep & overcome the odds. Nevertheless, one senses this is far from the end of the McGregor-Aldo saga.
McGregor has some of the best offensive stand-up technique in the MMA. He is relaxed and loose. While Jose Aldo looked slightly nervous as Bruce Buffer introduced the fighters, 'The Notorious' looked admirably more loose.
And then: boom. Thirteen seconds later, it was over. Aldo was unconscious.
The left straight punch that KO'd Aldo is pitch perfect in terms of technique.
He is the most active striker in the featherweight division. He pushes the pace and controls the distance expertly. Without fail he can back opponents into the cage, lashing out with a left hand that's one of the most powerful weapons from an MMA fighter that weighs in at exactly 145 pounds.
His hype train has reached a scale comparable in size to the mythical Irish Rover. One peculiar wrinkle in his game is that while he is mainly a boxer, he uses front snap kicks extensively.
Lastly, he has a fantastic left straight. He thrives under pressure, baiting the jab or the left straight from his opponent, leaning back or to the left to evade the punch and coming back with the left straight. It is a simple technique that relies on timing and anticipation.
Shutting down the left hand, aggravating with front kicks, capoeira techniques & bravado, and giving the opponent a target for long enough to think about committing—these are the secrets of McGregor's simple but beautifully subtle game.
His win over Aldo in 13 seconds has proved he's the real deal. The McGregor era is officially in full sail.