First of all you should know that I am a fan of Conor McGregor, a HUGE fan.
I love his trash talk, and his flamboyance and those crazy awful dress shirts. I love his fighting style and I think he is one of the smartest fighters I have ever seen. I think he's brilliant and until recently I thought he could do no wrong. I even loved him after he lost to Nate Diaz, mostly because of how classy and honest he was after the loss. I loved him more because his imperfections made him perfect to me.
But I think the tides... might be changing.
Recently he said he would not be returning to the UFC featherweight division which he is currently "champ" of. There's a reason I put that in quotes, and I will tell you why.
I think the sign of a true champion is not just obtaining the belt, but in defending it.
I'm not arguing that he deserves it, he absolutely does. That 13-second KO over Jose Aldo was nothing short of magic, but he cannot let that be it. He just can't.
In my opinion, no one will ever respect him as the UFC featherweight champion until he defends the belt. People will forever say he's running from Frankie Edgar, or a rematch with Aldo, or whatever powerhouse comes next. People will say he got lucky with the KO, that we never truly saw a championship fight. I need to see him defend, and win to call him my champ... and I'm a fan! Imagine what the haters are saying.
If McGregor doesn't at least defend the belt once I will lose some of the respect I have for him now. He's been so incredibly smart and calculated up until now and I hope he has something up his sleeve to shock and thrill us all, but I'm not liking this decision.
I hope someone is telling him this is not the way to go.
He said he doesn't see a challenge at 145 pounds anymore, so why not do a title defense and prove it? If it's an easy win like he says then it's just more money in the bank for him. Why not?
I'm scared that I am seeing my champ running, and for once I don't think I can defend him anymore.
(Edgar image via MMAWeekly.com)