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UFC 194 Aftermath: Prophecy Fulfilled


(via Getty)

Back in 2008, a fresh faced (well, maybe “fresh faced” is a little disingenuous) Conor McGregor was quoted as saying that he would be the future champion of the UFC’s lightweight division — “I’m the fucking future” was how he summed it up, I believe. Over the next four years, McGregor would put together a string of vicious performances that seemed to align with that belief, becoming CWFC’s first two-division champion in the process.

It was on April 6th, 2013 that McGregor was first tested on the world’s premier mixed martial arts stage, and to say that he passed with flying colors would be a bit of an understatement. McGregor tore through Marcus Brimage like tissue paper, starching the TUF 13 alum in just over a minute and collecting a well-earned 60 G’s (babayy!!) in bonus money to boot.

McGregor’s naysayers used a lot of words to describe his subsequent rise to fame — “protected,” “unearned,” and “all talk” among them — but time after time when it came to fight night, there McGregor would be, his hand raised, a thoroughly bewildered and semi-unconscious opponent beside him. He talked the talk, he walked the walk, and on Saturday, Conor McGregor fulfilled the prophecy that he and he alone created in devastating fashion.

Much has been made about McGregor’s, let’s call them “linguistic skills” over the years, but arguably more impressive than the Irishman’s gift for gab has been his foresight. He said he would knock out Dustin Poirier in a round, and he did. He said he that Chad Mendes would crumble, and he did. Perhaps most insane of all, he said that Jose Aldo — the pound for pound king and only featherweight champion in the UFC’s history — would “overreact, overextend, and then be KO’d unconscious.” And he did.

In the blink of an eye at UFC 194, all doubt about “Mystic Mac’s” abilities were erased via an emphatic knockout of Aldo that was eerily reminiscent of one from early in his career. It was Aldo’s first defeat in ten years, and it happened in just over 10 seconds. It was a moment that’s still indescribable, even when looking back at the road it took to get there.

Speaking of prophecies, Luke Rockhold seemed to know something we all didn’t heading into his UFC 194 co-main event with Chris Weidman. The middleweight title challenger oozed confidence in the build-up to the fight despite being paired against the man best known for defeating one of the sport’s greatest fighters twice, and his confidence was evident from the very first punch thrown.

We all knew Rockhold’s size would be a factor, but the extent to which he was able to wear down Weidman with body kicks and clinch work was a sight to behold. Even the final sequence of the fight, where Rockhold secured a takedown on the two-time Division 1 wrestler that would lead to the fight-ending onslaught of ground-and-pound (which seemed to last for no less than 90 minutes), was a testament to how well-rounded the former Strikeforce champion has become, and just how dominant he will be moving forward…barring any steroid-fueled spinning head kicks.

And Rockhold will need to bring every bit of confidence to the cage should he face Yoel Romero, who secured a split decision over fellow top contender Jacare Souza just one fight earlier at UFC194, next. Despite Romero’s penchant for stretching the rules and slowing down over the course of three round affairs, his momentary flashes of brilliance (I’m referring to that nasty spinning backfist he landed in the first round, of course) still paint him as a dangerous potential challenge to anyone at 185 . But Romero’s controversial win, coupled with Rockhold’s upset, doesn’t exactly make the middleweight title picture any clearer — in fact, we might have to see Weidman vs. Romero to determine who gets a shot at the new champ next.

In any case, a whole lot of possibilities have just opened up in two of the UFC’s most steady divisions, and that’s always an exciting prospect for those of us who choose to embrace the chaos that the sport oft dwells in.

Main Card
Conor McGregor def. Jose Aldo via first-round KO
Luke Rockhold def. Chris Weidman via fourth-round TKO
Yoel Romero def. Jacare Souza via split decision
Demian Maia def. Gunnar Nelson via unanimous decision
Max Holloway def. Jeremy Stephens via UD

Undercard

Urijah Faber def. Frankie Saenz via unanimous decision
Tecia Torres def. Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger via UD
Warlley Alves def. Colby Covington via submission (guillotine choke)
Leonardo Santos def. Kevin Lee via first-round TKO (3:26)
Magomed Mustafaev  def. Joe Proctor via TKO (strikes) at 1:54 of R1
Yancy Medeiros def. John Makdessi via split decision
Court McGee def. Marcio Alexandre Jr. via UD

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