Conor McGregor vs Jose Aldo: The Biggest Fight of All Time

With less than a minute remaining in the second round of the interim title fight between Conor McGregor and Chad Mendes, it seemed as though the UFC’s worst nightmare was about to become a reality. Every second that Mendes held down the charismatic Irishman and every punch he landed in McGregor’s guard was like watching the money slip through the Dana White’s hands.

That’s not to say a Mendes guillotine victory would be a complete disaster for the UFC. McGregor had seemingly drawn enough people to watch a main card filled with straight violent entertainment that was sure to convince a few casual fans to stick around. It could have even made a star out of Mendes, a well-rounded, exciting fighter who could hold his own in the promotional aspect of a fight (though not nearly as well as a McGregor).

Conor McGregor vs Jose Aldo: The Biggest Fight of All Time

But lets be honest: there is a lot of money to be made in a McGregor vs. Aldo title unification match, and not much to be made in a trilogy fight between the Brazilian and Mendes. That’s why, like it or not, the future of this still young sport changed for the better when McGregor rose to his feet and smashed Mendes like it was his plan the whole time. That’s because, whether the interim champ becomes a long term star or not (he will), McGregor vs. Aldo is the biggest fight in MMA history.

What It’s Up Against:

When discussing the biggest fight in mixed martial arts history, there are only a few fights worth mentioning. In my opinion, McGregor vs. Aldo will be up against Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz II, Georges St. Pierre vs. BJ Penn II, and Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen II for this honor.

It should be mentioned that although UFC 100 is the best-selling PPV of all time, the event’s success came more through depth than just its main event. With Liddell and Ortiz’s rematch at UFC 66, you had the two original stars in MMA history battling for the UFC Light-Heavyweight Championship. To top it all off, the fight had a built in narrative of former friends turned enemies, helping it become the first PPV to crack a million buys.

Next you have St. Pierre vs. Penn, a battle of two consensus top 5 pound for pound fighters in the world at the time. Not only was this a rematch of a controversial split decision from three years prior, it was a battle of two UFC champions. Just in case it wasn’t intriguing enough, Penn was also a former welterweight champion, so the whole heavier champion advantage seemed to be out the window.

Lastly, we have the rematch between the greatest fighter of all time and the first fighter to ever truly threaten his incredible winning streak. This fight had it all, from the untouchable aura of Silva and his winning streak, to the drama from the last fight, to the very personal trash talking that Sonnen was spitting out at the dominate champ who had previously struggled to become a draw due to his lack of, well, exactly what Sonnen was bringing to the table.

All these fights brought a ‘big fight feel’ that doesn’t come nearly as often in this sport as the UFC will tell you, so where does McGregor vs. Aldo rank amongst them?

What Makes This Match So Special:

Conor McGregor is the newest, brightest star in the UFC. In what feels like no time at all, McGregor has gone from a company newbie that Dana White could not hide his excitement over to a bigger star than every champion in the UFC today, save Jon Jones and Ronday Rousey.

Is it his trash talk? His confidence and charisma? The fact that his style is appeasing to both hardcore and casual fans? How about all of that and more. Simply put, Conor McGregor just has ‘it’. In a sport where the average American cannot name more than one or two of the top ten pound for pound fighters in the world right now, I had cousins and friends asking me all week if McGregor was the real deal or just hype.

McGregor used that inner magic to compel what seems to be a much larger audience than usual to buy UFC 189, where he defeated the best featherweight in the world not named Jose Aldo in spectacular fashion. That audience also got to sit through one of the most entertaining main cards of all time. Couple those two together, and you have a lot of fresh eyeballs that are legitimately excited to see if this huge star, who proved to them that he was the real deal, can take down this dominate champion that they keep hearing about from Brazil.

It’s the pound for pound best or second best fighter in the world against this megastar who can do all of the promoting for the champ himself (he already did it once). To top it all off, both fighters have styles that please the fans, so there is no reason to believe this won’t be a barn burner. This fight is everything that the UFC could have wanted and more.

It has a legitimate chance at breaking the PPV record set by UFC 100 and, unlike a certain boxing mega fight, has the potential to send fans home excited to see more of this beautiful sport. If fans were invested in this fight before Aldo pulled out with a rib injury, which they were, imagine how invested they will be now that McGregor has proven himself in the biggest possible way on the grandest stage the UFC had to offer. Not only will it get fans interested in the sport, it will create a Brock Lesnar sized star, but one that will stick around.

In the end, when all is said and done and the fight is over, either Jose Aldo will become the star that his skills always said he should be, or Conor McGregor will become the biggest draw in the sports history. With that said, McGregor vs. Aldo is the biggest fight in mixed martial arts history.