Less than a year after capturing the featherweight title from Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds, Conor McGregor will attempt to become the first person in UFC history to hold two belts simultaneously.
Yes, the "Notorious" king of pay-per-views has been booked to square off against lightweight champion, Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in what will surely be another blockbuster event for the UFC's debut at Madison Square Garden. Should McGregor win, he will join the very same echelon that he did while fighting under the Cage Warriors banner -- a multi-divisional champ in an era where dominant champions are falling at nearly every turn.
It would be an incredible accomplishment, obviously -- an ever-rare instance of an athlete's career coming full circle, and in record time, no less. If the bookies are to be believed, it's an accomplishment McGregor stands a good chance of achieving.
Following the announcement of his fight with Alvarez, McGregor has opened as a slight-but-noteworthy favorite over the DREAM and Bellator veteran across nearly all betting sites. While MMAOddsBreaker.com lists him as just a -125 favorite to Alvarez's -110, sites like 5Dimes and Bovada have him listed as high as -175, with Alvarez currently reaching as high as a +140 underdog.
However, according to OddsBreaker's Nick Kalikas, we should expect to see that thin margin narrow as the fight draws closer.
"This is a near pick 'em fight," said Kalikas to ESPN.com. "McGregor is phenomenal on the feet, especially early. His timing, power and precision should be enough to give him an edge in the standup, despite Alvarez being an excellent boxer. Alvarez should have a big edge on the ground, particularly because he has great ability to take the fight to the floor."
If Alvarez is to be believed, then a grappling-heavy attack is exactly what we can expect from him against McGregor when the two finally do collide. In the lead-up to McGregor's short-lived fight with Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 196, Alvarez told The MMA Hour that "There's a simple way to win against this guy and nobody seems to be doing it."
"[Dos Anjos] needs to implement a ground attack," said Alvarez. "If he don't, I honestly feel like he can get knocked out, just like the other guys Conor was able to knock out. But he can't allow it to be mostly of a striking."
"The guy hasn't been in the fight we need to see him in. Nobody's implemented an attack, and when someone does, it's over. This whole show's over. The whole goddamn spectacle's over. I don't know why no one's doing it. It's very frustrating."
We'll have to see if Alvarez can stick to such a game plan when dealing with the mental warfare that McGregor is known to inflict on his opponents.