As the man behind the biggest pay-per-views the UFC has ever promoted, Conor McGregor is the biggest star in MMA history. As the previous owner of two UFC titles, and victories over top fighters like Dustin Poirier, Chad Mendes, Jose Aldo, and Eddie Alvarez, he’s also one of the best fighters to ever do it. In the opinion of UFC President Dana White, that latter fact is often forgotten.
“It’s funny to say this because of how popular he is and what a huge star he is, but I think Conor McGregor is one of the most underrated fighters in the UFC,” White said on UFC Unfiltered (via MMANytt). “Every time Conor McGregor comes out to fight somebody new and it’s a wrestler or it’s whatever, this is the fight that Conor is going to lose. He said that he would knock out Jose Aldo the way he did it, he said he would do it in the first round.
“A lot of people picked him to lose to Eddie Alvarez because of Eddie Alvarez’s style and wrestling. Look how he looked there. Leading up to the fight when he fought Chad Mendes — Chad Mendes is a wrestler, everybody believed that he would do that. Then after [Conor] won everybody said that Chad Mendes didn’t have enough time to train for it. The list goes on and on.”
Conor McGregor will make his long-awaited return to the cage on August 6, in the main event of UFC 229, where he will battle undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Just as he has been in the past, the Irish star is being widely discounted against his Russian adversary, as he’s been pegged as a betting underdog by bookmakers.
Time will tell if he’s able to defy the odds and prove Dana White right.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 8/12/2018.