Just 13 seconds into their fight, Conor McGregor stunned Jose Aldo with a cold-cock left strike to the head on Sunday morning, knocking out the Brazilian and claiming the UFC featherweight title in the fastest title finish in the promotion’s history.
The brash Irishman danced briefly with Aldo, who had successfully defended his title seven times across five years as the first and only holder since the division’s inception. Then Aldo lunged for a glancing right and McGregor landed square with a return left.
Aldo’s momentum carried his own second strike, with his left, square into McGregor’s face, but the challenger shook it off and pounced as Aldo hit the canvass.
And that was pretty much the fight.
McGregor’s subsequent quick-strike, undefended blows led referee John McCarthy to immediately stop the fight and send the MGM Grand crowd in Las Vegas into a frenzy.
The 27-year-old from Dublin has risen quickly through the UFC ranks and captivated fans and media alike with his charismatic cockiness and unyielding self-confidence. "I get in there, and I put on a show," McGregor said before the fight. "I come to fight, and this fight will be a performance.
“I’m not just going to beat Jose. I’m going to embarrass Jose in there,” he promised.
In a perhaps perversely prophetic twist, Aldo had said himself pre-fight: “I’m going to hit him, and he’s going to sleep.”
As it turned out, it was the opposite that happened. McGregor, coming into the fight undefeated in six fights since joining UFC in 2013, ferociously and exhilaratingly put Aldo down. In the blink of an eye.
“Nobody can take that left hand shot,” he said in his post-fight interview.
Before UFC 194, McGregor had insisted of Aldo: “I look in his eyes, and I see someone who knows his era is over. It’s a new era. It’s my era.”
He delivered that era on Sunday morning. It only took 13 seconds for him to usher it in.
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