After months of preparation and anticipation, the UFC finally made its New York City debut. Taking place st #MadisonSquareGarden, the promotion put on one of the biggest and baddest combat sports events in history.
The card boasted standout performances all round, but the cherry on top of the proverbial cake was provided by #ConorMcGregor in the main event. The Irishman defeated #EddieAlvarez to become the first fighter in promotional history to simultaneously hold two championship belts in different weight divisions.
Before the event, Champions.co hit the streets of Northern Ireland to see what the general public thought of the Dublin superstar. And now that McGregor has made history, here's more from Northern Ireland.
"UFC 205 has proved that Connor McGregor is working one step ahead of any fighter in two weight divisions. The relative ease he picked Alvarez off with is evidence that he's the most valuable fighter to #DanaWhite and UFC."
- Rab Hanna
The general vibe was one of overwhelming pride and joy for the feat accomplished by McGregor. Although the time difference meant watching #MysticMac walk into the Octagon at around 6 a.m., thousands were perched around their televisions ready to watch McGregor raise those two UFC belts above his head. A lot was made of the Notorious one's media antics before the fights, especially his cocky and arrogant persona. However, when push came to shove, the Irishman backed up everything he said.
"Conor has backed up all his talk in the lead up to the fight, UFC history has been made"
- MJ Davey
"People say he talks and he talks and he talks, but he backs it up."
- Ewan Anderson
"King McGregor proving himself to be a master of his craft once again. I feel like he has to go and fight Floyd [#Mayweather] next."
- Tommy Hughes
"The similarities between Alvarez and Poirier in the lead up were striking."
- Eoin MacKenzie
McGregor put on a world-class display as he easily dispatched Alvarez. The Irishman barely broke a sweat in the main event, dropping Alvarez three times in the first before, stalking his prey and finishing him comfortably in the second via knockout. This year has seen an evolution in McGregor's fight game and many feel that #NateDiaz is to thank for this.
"[UFC] 196 looks to have been a blessing in disguise, in the 202 rematch and then 205, he looks so much more composed and calm, it's scary. He isn't trying to knock opponents out as quickly as possible, he is so much more clinical with his strikes.
When he knocked Nate down at UFC 202 and Eddie on Saturday night, he didn't rush in for the ground and pound, risking getting caught in guard.
He was calm and picked his moments to perfections.
- Callum Grundon
Of course, not everyone is over the moon that McGregor won; some can't seem to overlook McGregor's theatrics in front of the media.
"To be honest, I'm surprised his win was as easy as it was. He is at the point now that he can back up all his mouthing off. However, he did exactly what I predicted he would do. He came out after the fight and said how much he respected Alvarez. That was both good and bad to see. It was good because it showed he's not a total dick, and that he plays the pantomime villain just to hype the fight. It's bad because he uses these very cynical tactics designed just to line his own pockets. So my opinion hasn't really changed of him, I was just surprised he is as good as he says he is."
- Peter McCully
Love him or hate him, the fact remains that Conor McGregor is undoubtedly one of the most in-demand stars on the planet right now. This begs the question, where does he go next?
With the announcement of impending parenthood, the Irishman will seek to take some well deserved time off from the sport. However, now a kingpin in two divisions and still yet to defend the featherweight belt, the Irishman will have a long list of fighters looking to have a shot at him.
So what should Conor McGregor's next move be now he's reached arguably the pinnacle of mixed martial arts. Take time off? Defend his belts? Go after an equity stake in the company?
It looks like opinion is divided among the Northern Irish when it comes to what McGregor should do next.
"The 155 division is like death row. Every one of the top 10 ranked fighters are killers in their own right. Since Pettis, no one has defended the title more than once so I'm nervous to see how he does.
Conor has never defended a title in Cage Warriors or the UFC and that scares me a little. There's so much more on the line for the champion, and with the shark tank of 155 I honestly don't know how he will do, even being a die hard Conor fan that excites me as a fan of MMA."
- Callum Grundon
"As for what's next, I honestly don't know. I hope he doesn't follow through on this shares in UFC nonsense. Just fight mate, you're rich enough already."
- Peter McCully
"I think what's next for Conor is to concentrate on becoming a dad. I think that's why he wants equity in the UFC so that he can chill for a while and enjoy his family, and have something guaranteed for them if he ever does retire. I was so happy that he won because now it opens doors for him to defend his belts on home soil, which is better for his family and is better for us, his fans because not everyone can fly out to America for every fight. That's going to be intimidating for any opponent. Irish fans are already the loudest out in America, let's see them shit themselves when they see the support here."
- Katriona Kirwan
"As for what's next, it's hard to say as we've never seen this before and I'm not sure if UFC themselves know how to use Conor best for their advantage."
- Rab Hanna
"No idea except what you tell me, and nappies I assume as he is going to be a dad. Bet that's the one human being who will have him sorted from day one."
- Stephen McCann
Following Conor McGregor's win, the UFC now heads to #NorthernIreland for the first time in nearly a decade. Taking place at the SSE Arena in #Belfast, #UFCFightNight99 will see a headline of #UriahHall vs. #GegardMousasi. The card will also feature #SBG team member and Conor McGregor sparring partner #ArtemLobov, as well as Irish fan favorite #NeilSeery who will retire from the sport following his fight against #IanMcCall.
For more on UFC 205, check out Champions.co complete coverage.