When Brock Lesnar ended the 21-0 undefeated streak held by WWE legend The Undertaker at WrestleMania 30, his on-screen ‘advocate’ and real life close friend Paul Heyman pontificated his client’s shocking accomplishment by proclaiming him “The One in 21-1”.
While it may not be in the conversation for shocking sporting results due to pro wrestling being pre-determined, what I am going to take from this is the nickname,
On Saturday, August 27, a fight will occur that, to put it lightly, has brought with it a great amount of theatrical buildup. This fight pits one of the greatest boxers of all time, maybe even the greatest, against one of the most polarizing fighters in the history of MMA, maybe even the most polarizing. In one corner, Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather.
Mayweather, whether you like him or not, and most people will likely choose the latter, you cannot deny that Mayweather at least deserves recognition for his astonishing feat of his 49-0 record. It is a streak of consecutive wins that is unmatched by any athlete in an individual sport. He has put together an undestroyable legacy and raked in more money than most people could even imagine having, hence his nickname. Finally, he won what was dubbed the “Fight of the Century” when he defeated Manny Pacquiao in 2015.
However, there is a new challenge on the horizon, and it may his single most overhyped challenge of his career.
Standing opposite the undefeated boxer in the ring on that fateful Saturday will be Conor McGregor. You might be able to say that he is more liked than his opponent, however, he certainly would not get anywhere near 100% in a popularity contest. No matter your feelings on the fighter, you believe in them with every fibre of your being; you either see him as The Irish Idol, or The Irish Idiot. It would not take you very long to go on YouTube and find a treasure trove of MMA’s biggest current star and his wild antics. And it is those antics coupled with his dominant success in the UFC that has some people foolishly believing he actually stands a fighting chance.
Guess what? He doesn’t. Unless, of course, he does.
I do not see any plausible scenario in which Mayweather will lose this fight. The fight is going to be contested under boxing rules, which is no real shock to anyone. There is no way on earth that Mayweather would risk his unblemished record to step into an octagon with the top MMA performer in the world. However, McGregor, with all due respect to his MMA accomplishments and his assuredly rigorous training regiment over the last few months in preparation for the biggest contest of his career, he is not a boxer. He is no slouch to using his fists, obviously, and if I ever came into contact with him, I would pose no threat whatsoever. However, and I hate to repeat myself, but he is not a boxer. This is not what he trained his whole life for, this is not what he knows inside and out. This is not his career. This is not his sport. This is not his world. This is Mayweather’s.
However, what if? What if the impossible happened? What if newspapers were plastered with those unthinkable headlines? What if Conor McGregor defeated Floyd Mayweather?
Well, a few things would happen. Firstly, boxing would die instantly. I have nothing personally against boxing, but if an MMA athlete came over for three months and took down one of the best boxers in the sport’s history, the sport would never recover. Secondly, MMA, and the UFC, specifically, would be on easy street for the foreseeable future. They would not have to worry about pay-per-view buys, live attendance or viewership numbers for, at the very least, a decade. Thirdly, McGregor would NEVER shut up. Fourthly, people with a last name beginning with ‘Mc-‘ would be naming their children Connor because apparently, if you have a last name like that and your kid is named Connor, then they are just destined for greatness in sports (if you aren’t getting this one, I’ll just leave the words Edmonton Oilers right here).
Oh yeah, and it would be potentially the most staggering result in sport history.
In my personal opinion, that distinction currently belongs to Brazil’s earth-shattering 7-1 defeat at the hands of Germany in the 2014 World Cup. On home soil, the Brazilians, however you want to look at it, quit on their own nation, and collapsed on the pitch right in front of their cult-follower-like fans. It was something that no one predicted, that no one could have foreseen, and that no one could believe as it unfolded right before their very eyes.
And McGregor defeating Mayweather may rival it.
I cannot for sure say it would be THE most shocking result in sports history, but I cannot say for sure it wouldn’t be. This is, simply put, as if the New York Yankees challenged Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to a football game where if they won, they won the Super Bowl, and then went out and defeated the Patriots.
While obviously not the same thing, that analogy does give an insight into the likelihood of this turning out well for McGregor. However, when it comes to sports, there is always a chance for anything to happen, and while I couldn’t dream it possible, those kinds of moments are what is going to make millions of people buy the pay-per-view, and see if McGregor can become “The One in 49-1”.