Broadcasting from an early afternoon in Melbourne, Australia, the mixed martial arts world was treated to one of the biggest upsets in the sport’s short history when “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey was mauled and dethroned by new women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm. It proved the old adage true that ‘anything can happen in a fight’. Regardless of the old, but pertinent, proverb, it seemed as though the world wasn’t quite ready for Rousey to lose, but it happened, without our permission. UFC 194’s main event brings a similar, yet indifferent, setting: we are guaranteed witness a loss that we probably aren’t ready for.
That’s the major difference going in to UFC 194’s main event. At UFC 193 most didn’t expect it, most thought it was impossible, but it happened: Rousey lost. On December 12th we will witness a loss that will shake the very foundations of the UFC’s featherweight division.
Let us first disregard the potential draw unfolding, and let us hope I didn’t jinx it by mentioning it. A draw occurring in relation to what I’m going to outline is akin to betting on red and black and then the ball lands on green. It just ruins everything. With out of the way, we have two scenarios: Jose Aldo tastes defeat for the first time since 2005, or Conor McGregor is silenced.
Either transpiring would have a unanimous vote.
Please think about the first scenario for a moment. Jose Aldo has been carrying the world featherweight crown ever since 2009 ever since he crushed Mike Brown in the WEC to win the title. To put that into perspective, that was over a year before the UFC dissolved the WEC and crowned Aldo as their first, and to date only, UFC Featherweight Champion. That’s a six year reign since coronation, and aside from a sprinkling of competitive fights – most significantly his second fight with Chad Mendes – his position has looked relatively untouchable. That’s a championship reign that could realistically end on December 11th.
Let that sink in.
Then we have scenario number two; Conor McGregor loses. It’s a scenario which, strangely, feels like it would cause a bigger stir in the world of mixed martial arts. Traditionally, a challenger dethroning a champion of six years would be a bigger deal, and it probably should be. However, with all the hype the brash Irishman has garnered since debuting in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and with the of deep back-catalog of often quotable soundbites detailing his self-prophesied inevitable victory against the long-time Brazilian champion, a loss for McGregor could potentially generate significantly more headlines.
That, along with countless other factors, is what makes this fight so appealing to the masses. I haven’t even delved into the intricacies of their technique and aggression, or pondered on the significance of their respective styles meeting head-on, or mentioned how absolutely bonkers their pre-fight stare-down will be; because you know it will be bonkers. I just outlined the sobering obvious: someone needs to lose.
Who knows where the featherweight division goes with the inevitable loss for either Jose Aldo or Conor McGregor, but we know that one thing is for sure: it won’t look like the same as it does today.