Conor McGregor: A New Season Begins?
By James Lee
As yet another rare, but thrilling Conor McGregor fight week is well underway, it appears that the famed Irish fighter is proceeding to convey his newfound mantra of respect and civility.
In one period, it could not be denied that he was the most well-liked fighter in the world. Perhaps he still is now. But something is different to that feeling he created six or so years ago, as he was ascertaining his position at the top of the combat mountain.
His cockiness and overconfident attitude at times back then might have been irritating to some, but his likability could never be denied. It was widely acknowledged as slight bravado, slight reality, but never anything more serious. It was his way of amassing record viewership, while acquiring confidence and diminishing that of his counterparts.
He always promised he was different. Declared that he had foreseen himself in a fortunate position and would not change. Yet, his future actions played right into the typical clique fighter story. Multiple repellent actions and accusations left fans feeling uncomfortable supporting him, and thus it became challenging to identify as his once harmless outlook became harmful.
One thing his success was built on was self-awareness. From 2017 to 2019, however, his actions failed to reflect that. His mistakes were somewhat excusable, and when many of his biggest supporters could no longer prop him up, he needed to change.
It was once thought that anything could be solved by combat success and entertainment, but that may not have been the case thus far. His earlier antics genuinely left those previously fascinated by his every move disappointed, and as so many received inspiration from the ascension, those feelings quickly changed to a belief he was negatively different.
His antics of late seemingly reveal he is apologetic for his actions and has surrendered to an inner requisite transformation. Although he may never garner the same feelings as prior, there is a chance of a new beginning. His current mantra has been that of maturity, gratefulness and zen. The perpetuation of that will eventually make people more accepting to the idea of that being his true character.
Crucially though, everything will be forgotten when New York’s finest rings around the Etihad Arena and the notorious left hand is swarmed around Dustin Poirier’s periphery.
Nobody in combat brings excitement like he does, and providing that consistency is subsequently maintained, his reputation will continue to advance. 2020 unlatched the door to those sins, and 2021 presents the moment to completely relinquish them.