The UFC put nearly all of its eggs in one basket in promoting Sunday night’s UFC Fight Night 59 event in Boston, banking on the meteoric rise of Conor McGregor, and his proclamation that he would win his fight with Dennis Siver in under two minutes. A victory would also put him in a title fight with featherweight champion Jose Aldo.
McGregor entered the arena to the roar of a heavily Irish-based Boston crowd, nearly the same as if he were fighting on his home soil in Dublin, exuding the confidence that he always does, regardless of where or whom he is fighting.
Siver started off strong in the opening round, employing the workmanlike, plodding style that is typical of him, using a mix of kicks and punches to survive well beyond the two-minute mark that McGregor prognosticated. But that was really about all that Siver could count in his favor.
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While the German constantly fought back, McGregor was masterful at utilizing his reach advantage. He missed with most of his spinning kicks, but drove Siver back with his front leg side kicks, setting up his stinging right jab-straight left combinations that bloodied Siver’s face, and had him on the defensive, even when Siver was swinging.
It was that straight left hand that busted up Siver’s face, leaving him streaked in blood by the end of the first frame.
Siver regrouped and came out firing in round two, but so did McGregor, only the Irishman continued to outpace Siver at a pace of three or four to one, and it was too much for the German fighter.
Another right-left combo sent Siver falling to the canvas. McGregor dropped down and quickly took full mount, and that’s when he truly unleashed for the first time in the fight. McGregor bombarded Siver with heavy elbows, mixing in punches, not relenting until referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop the fight.
After he got up, McGregor strutted around the Octagon, caught a glimpse of Aldo, who was seated cageside, and nearly vaulted over the fence, landing on the Octagon apron. He jumped down to get in Aldo’s face, but UFC security held him back.
Aldo stood smiling and laughing at McGregor’s antics.
Once he returned to the Octagon, McGregor was his usual self, unleashing a verbal tirade.
“I said two minutes… I meant two rounds,” he said, addressing the failure to live up to his prognostication, but the conversation quickly shifted to Aldo, since McGregor’s victory earned him a shot at the champion.
“I’m gonna hand him my spit bucket so he can go back and spit-shine that belt and bring it back so I can take it,” he declared.
The initial plan was to bring Aldo up into the Octagon while McGregor was still there, but those plans shifted on the fly, evidently someone deciding it maybe wasn’t the best move considering the heat between the two.
“He’s gone. He’s gone back to Brazil with that spit bucket,” screamed McGregor.
Aldo then spoke to UFC commentator Joe Rogan at Octagonside, once again downplaying McGregor both as a talker and a fighter.
“It’s normal to me. He’s just a joke and a court jester to me,” said the longtime champion.
“I think it’s the biggest fight the weight class ever will see,” Aldo admitted, but added, “I’m not impressed. He’s not the caliber I’ve fought before.”