Could McGregor be UFC’s equivalent to Iron Mike Tyson?


Stalking forward with bad intentions, Conor McGregor threw volume and power at Dustin Poirier with his dynamic striking game that would eventually stop their featherweight bout on Saturday night in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in just 107 seconds.

Only one of McGregor’s four UFC contests has left the first round, his sophomore promotional outing against Max Holloway in which the Dubliner suffered a knee injury midway through the first round.

The notion of a consummate finisher is something that Dana White talked about at length in the formative years of the UFC. Despite many feeling they wouldn’t get their money’s worth due to the former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson’s quick disposal of his opponents, White has always fondly remembered the Brownsville man’s early years as champion.

Anderson Silva’s unbeaten streak and complete dominance in the pound for pound conversation was the closest White came to getting someone who has Tyson’s knack for finishing at will. After ‘The Spider’ dismantled Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153 in Rio de Janeiro, White reeled off this rhapsody on the similarities between the two champions:

“I’m a huge Mike Tyson fan, and in Tyson’s heyday when he was executing people, and you were just wondering how long it was going to be before he knocked someone out – he had that power and meanness that people were afraid of,” White said.

“Anderson Silva just does amazing things that nobody else can do. I’m telling you right now watch every fight that he has, enjoy every moment that he’s here because when he’s gone you’re going to fuckin’ regret it. You’re going to wish you watched more.

“It’s like Jordan – even the games he played that didn’t mean a lot – he still did a lot of great shit. Anderson Silva is the guy who you want to watch when he’s fighting because you’re going to see some shit you’ve never seen before in your life.”

Although Silva is certainly still considered one of the greatest fighters who ever lived, the Brazilian superstar is coming towards the end of his career. There will undoubtedly be a massive void left by the 39 year old when he eventually hangs his gloves up, and Conor McGregor could be the man to take the bull by the horns.

Out of his 16 wins McGregor has claimed 14 by knockout and there are further parallels to be drawn between him and Tyson, it isn’t just their propensity to finish.

The menace of ‘Iron Mike’ allowed him to defeat opponents before they even stepped into the ring. As we have seen with McGregor, in a far more vocal manner, it could be argued that his three wins over Marcus Brimage, Diego Brandao and Dustin Poirier had a lot to do with how he had mentally conquered his counterparts before they stepped in the ring.

There are further strings to the Irishman’s bow too. His debut in the Fight Capital of the World established him as one of the most marketable men on the UFC’s books. Constantly “stealing the show”, McGregor’s army numbered over a thousand for his MGM Grand date on Saturday night prompting White to claim the Irishman is the biggest draw he has seen in MMA to date.

“Conor McGregor is the real deal – he is legit,” White announced on Fox after Saturday’s action. “He is a force that I have never seen ever. He is bigger than Brock Lesnar when he was here. Bigger than any of the fighters we’ve ever had. Yes, he’s bigger than Georges St-Pierre. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

It might seem premature to mention McGregor’s name in the same breath as Tyson’s, but his improvements each time we see him take to the Octagon have been staggering. Looking at his performances to date, his marketability, his salesmanship and his devastating knockouts – it could be the perfect storm to make him the front-runner of the sport in the years to come.


Ireland's leading MMA media outlet. Home of Severe MMA Podcast. Producers of 'Notorious,' 'The Fighting Irish' & other MMA docus

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