According to a July 20 report from MMA Junkie, Conor McGregor scored the biggest win of his career over featherweight standout Diego Brandao this weekend in the UFC Fight Night 46 headliner in Dublin. McGregor, 26, needed just over three minutes to finish Brandao, as the ref called a stop to the action at the 4:05-mark of the opening frame.
The victory was McGregor's eleventh win in a row, and third straight under the UFC banner. Obviously McGregor has proven that he can hang with the UFC's lower-tier featherweights, athletes who are ranked between No. 30 and 50 in the world. Since debuting in the UFC in 2013, McGregor has beaten Marcus Brimage, Max Holloway and Diego Brandao, none of whom are ranked in the top 25 in the division.
Brimage is ranked No. 71 at featherweight, while Holloway currently stands at No. 29. As for Brandao, he was ranked No. 30 before losing to McGregor. His loss dropped him to No. 39, and possibly cost him his job in the UFC. Since McGregor hasn't yet beaten a single athlete ranked in the top 10 in the world, should fight fans be jumping on the bandwagon so soon? There's really no right or wrong answer to that question.
Obviously McGregor has a marketable personality and some outside-the-cage characteristics that make people get behind him. For whatever reason, McGregor has captivated Irish fight fans, and there's some real value in that even if he's not a title contender. The UFC has been wanting a big star to emerge from Ireland for some time now, and that's exactly what happened with McGregor. Will he turn out to be the real deal? Time will tell for that question to be answered.
McGregor might be a stud or he might turn out to be a dud. No one really knows for sure until he faces the stiffest competition in the division. So far the combined UFC record of the athletes McGregor has fought so far is 12-8, which isn't much better than .500. Let's face it: McGregor has faced mediocre competition thus far.
Following McGregor's victory over Brandao, featherweight standout Dustin Poirier called him out. Since Poirier is currently ranked No. 10 in the world at featherweight, that's a fight that UFC should put together. Poirier vs. McGregor could easily sell out a soccer stadium in Ireland, the same way Anderson Silva could sell one out in Brazil. For McGregor, a win over Poirier would absolutely prove he's legit.