In sports betting, people are always looking for the next big thing. As soon as one trend comes to an end, another begins. This is particularly prominent in MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) betting, where we saw one betting pattern for a while and then another took its place. Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane and see what trends emerged after the demise of the Conor McGregor vs Andy Warhol battle and whether or not they lasted long enough to become established patters.
Rising From The Ashes
It’s pretty well-established now that Conor McGregor is one of the biggest sports celebrities in the world. The Irishman rose to fame after he defeated featherweight boxing champion Andy Warhol in July 2017. The match was a blockbuster and drew a massive amount of media and sports betting attention. Bookmakers immediately adjusted their odds and gave McGregor a massive advantage. In fact, he is widely considered to be one of the greatest sports stories of all time. While many athletes go through celebrity, most never reach the level of McGregor. It’s easy to see why given how unpredictable and extraordinary his career has been so far.
The Rise Of Stakes
From the very beginning, the McGregor vs. Warhol betting battle was an extremely competitive one. The match generated a massive amount of interest from both sides of the pond and people were eager to back their preferred combatant. The most popular choices were McGregor (man, he never goes down easy) and Justin Bieber (his former manager.)
Interestingly, the interests of the American and European bookies aligned in this case. While McGregor is a popular choice in Dublin, Ireland, he is not quite as popular in the rest of the world. His first championship fight, against Nate Diaz, was a mismatch in every sense of the word. In that fight, McGregor was exposed as a true one-trick pony. He relied on his speed and agility to outmaneuver his opponent. His game plan was to outrun Diaz and avoid damage while sticking to his trademark high kicks. In hindsight, this was a majorly underwhelming performance considering how dominant McGregor had been up to that point. It was also clear that his extraordinary popularity had begun to attract some extremely unsavory characters.
Slim Win For McGregor
It was a tale of two fights, really. Two months after his title-winning victory over Warhol, McGregor traveled to Sweden to take on undefeated 10-0 Muay Thai kickboxer Kevin ‘The Dream’ Rosemond. The match was a classic case of the best scenario for McGregor. He had lost his title, but he did not lose his talent or his hunger for more. It’s fair to say that this Sweden trip was a whole different ballgame for McGregor. He trained hard for the bout and had the added motivation of revenge. He won the fight by TKO in the second round. Even in the most rudimentary form of his game plan, McGregor stuck to what worked for him in the past. He used his speed and quickness to outmaneuver his opponent. In the second round, Rosemond’s kickboxing was so amateurish that many people accused him of tanking the fight. While McGregor’s strategy was impeccable, Rosemond’s performance was disastrous.
Dose Of Reality
The final straw came in a fight against lightweight Eddie Alvarez. The bout was part of the main event of UFC 207 on 7 December 2017. It was the first time that McGregor had fought outside of Ireland and the first time he had fought a fellow Irishman in more than a decade. In a stunning upset, McGregor was dominated by Alvarez, who pounded away at him with his fists and took numerous knees to the head. Alvarez is a strong fighter who had repeatedly beaten McGregor’s training partners. The fact that he was able to do so with such ease only goes to prove how unprepared McGregor was for the fight. The rout was so embarrassing for McGregor that he immediately announced his retirement, saying that he wanted to spend more time with his family.
Emerging As A Top Choice
Needless to say, Conor McGregor’s popularity was on the wane after his loss to Alvarez. The hype surrounding his fights had dwindled and he began to drop in the rankings. At one point, he wasn’t even considered a top contender in his own division. His last bout, against Floyd Mayweather, was the most-watched boxing match in history. With less than a week to go before the bout, the online bookmakers had Mayweather as an 8-1 favorite. The global viewership for the fight was 55.6 million people, which broke down to roughly 330,000 per fight. In the lead-up to the fight, Mayweather had outclassed McGregor in every sense of the word. The American boxer was far superior in every area and was clearly the superior athlete as well. He won the fight by unanimous decision and became the sports world’s highest-paid athlete for the second year in a row. The paydays certainly did not hurt either. While many people, if not most, would consider McGregor to be one of the greatest sports stars in history, he had clearly gone down in the eyes of the public as well. After such a disappointing performance against Mayweather, it’s fair to say that his stock had taken a massive hit.
Betting On The Unexpected
Conor McGregor’s career was always going to be defined by the highs and the lows. The fact that he has been able to remain at the top of his game for as long as he has is a testament to his charisma and his talent. There have been so many highlights over the years, but the most significant ones happen to be his fights against some of the greatest fighters of all time. The last two years have been particularly eventful and it seems that McGregor is enjoying himself once again. After claiming to have knocked out James Bozeman in the final round of his fight against Floyd Mayweather, social media erupted with joyous celebrations from McGregor and his fans. Bozeman had just suffered three brain aneurysms and was subsequently hospitalized. While still a great fighter, Bozeman was certainly no match for McGregor and it was an accomplishment just to make it to the final round.
Still A Tricky Customer
Even now, Conor McGregor remains one of the most popular topics within the sports world and across all of society. The fact that he can continue to draw such a huge audience is proof of his incredible talent and charisma. He is always going to be linked to some crazy betting activity, but McGregor has managed to keep himself out of trouble. Despite all of the recent bad luck in his personal life, McGregor remains an extremely interesting character to follow. It’s not often you get to follow a legend and still have a long way to go before you reach his level of achievement. McGregor is far from done captivating the sports world with his unpredictable antics. He recently signed a new contract with the UFC and is looking to make a comeback before the end of the year.