Moments of 2016: Conor McGregor makes history at UFC 205.

It’s been a rollercoaster year for the Notorious, but by the end of it, he became the most decorated UFC fighter in history.

This time last year, Connor McGregor defeated Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds to win the UFC Featherweight title.

The question was, what would he do next? A rematch seemed unlikely. The Notorious was done with the Brazilian, and instead began a quest to become the first double-weight champion in the sports history. The next class up was Lightweight, and the Irishman already had his eyes on the champion: Rafael Dos Anjos

The pair were expected to face each other at UFC 196 in March, but Dos Anjos broke his foot in training and had to withdraw.

Instead, McGregor moved up a further class to Welterweight to fight Nate Diaz. Many insisted the move up would be too big a jump, and although the 28-year old  comfortably made the weight, he lost via submission in the second round. It was his first UFC defeat.

Once again the question was where would McGregor go from here? This next fight would make or break his UFC dream of winning two championships at the same time.

A return to Featherweight was an option, but instead he wanted to prove all his doubters wrong in a rematch with Diaz.

The pair met once again at UFC 202 in August.

The event would beat the record for highest Pay-Per-View sales in UFC history, but more importantly, it allowed McGregor to get his vengeance. The Irishman battled though five gruelling rounds, and won via majority decision.

“The motherf***ing king is back!,” exclaimed the Notorious.

It was a victory that re-sparked the belief and confidence he had back just after the Aldo fight.

He had regained his focus, and when he challenged Eddie Alvarez for the Lightweight belt at UFC 205 in November, many made the Irishman favourite for the fight.

UFC 205 was a special night. It was the first UFC event to be held in New York City, and was the scene for a piece of history to unfold in front of the world.

McGregor was in a league of his own, and comfortably made light work of Alvarez inside two rounds.

“I know I’ve been mean to some of the guys on this roster, and I want to take this chance to apologise….to absolutely nobody!,” he said after the fight.

“Now where’s my belt?”

He has done what no-man has achieved before. Yes, he has had to give up the Featherweight title as he can’t defend two at the same time, but everyone knows he cannot be laughed at anymore.

He has the company on its knees. The UFC might have new owners, but that won’t stop the Irishman running the show.

So what next for the Notorious in 2017? He has revealed he expects to become a father, and that could have an effect on his availability to fight in the second half of the year. Maybe that means he has a mega-fight lined up in the spring time, and one last hurrah before some time out of the octagon.

A super-mega fight with Floyd Mayweather has been suggested for months now, and the Irishman has recently received a boxing license, but that rumour still remains in the shadows.

Perhaps the best move for him would be to stick to Lightweight and own the division. There are some fighters in this division that would love to fight the Notorious- and who wouldn’t- seeing as he is the poster-boy of the UFC.

A maker of his own legacy, and  notorious inside and out of the Octagon, this man has helped the brand become more popular in the UK and other countries.

Usain Bolt will probably win the overseas Sports Personality of the Year award, but if someone was to challenge him all the way, it would have been Conor McGregor.





7K to MK: A look back at a huge win for Brighton and Hove Albion

When the away support makes up one third of the match attendance, it can really spur a team on. That could not have been more evident than at the Stadium:MK yesterday, where Brighton and Hove Albion held on to win 2-1 against MK Dons.

With over 7,000 albion fans making the trip up to Buckinghamshire, there was a sense of optimism in the air. The recent drop in form for promotion rivals Middlesbrough, Derby County and Hull City have coincided with the Seagull’s regaining there early season momentum.

It was just one defeat in 11 prior to yesterday’s vital clash, and Chris Hughton’s men knew that a win was a must ahead of a tricky looking April.

Stadium: MK ahead of MK Dons vs Brighton and Hove Albion. (Image Credit: Liam Richner)

It was a first visit for me to Stadium:MK and what a lovely ground it is. It’s just a shame it wasn’t filled to it’s maximum capacity of 30,500 as the place would have been absolutely rocking.

It was certainly a party atmosphere in the away end- compared to the subdued home MK Dons supporters. Balloons and confetti  were being thrown about as if the fans were already celebrating what has been a magnificent season for the Seagulls.

With such a carnival like build-up, the first half of the match was an anti-climax. The game was very stop start, with the referee blowing for a foul every time a player went down.

The ground went from party central to a rather loud silence within those opening 45 minutes- something had to give the place a bit of noise again.

Step up Gully and the team mascots. As part of the MK Dons family fun day, the mascots had a race from one side of the pitch to the other (Watch here). Forget Usain Bolt, this was the 100m race that we all wanted to see!

Gully flew out the blocks and by the time he crossed the halfway line he was in the lead. I’d like to say he won, but I think it was too close to call with the chicken on the outside who came out of nowhere!

With the feel-good factor back, Brighton went on the offensive early in the second half. Tomer Hemed came on to replace Sam Baldock, who went straight down the tunnel, and the Israeli striker made an instant impact.

Brighton’s number 10 won and then converted a penalty to give the Seagulls the lead. Six minutes later, he latched onto Jiri Skalek’s cross to head home powerfully for his 13th goal of the season.

The crowd were going crazy. 2-0 up and controlling the match, it looked like it was going to comfortably be a fourth win in six games.

James Wilson came close to making it 3-0 but his first time effort was saved brilliantly by Cody Cropper.

But, as many Brighton supporters will know, the Seagulls never make life easy for themselves. Bruno, who usually is superb at the back, gave away a cheap free kick, and MK Dons scored from the resulting set piece to get back into the game.

Hemed was again involved in Kyle McFadzean’s red card with fifteen minutes left. The MK Dons defender appeared to elbow the albion striker in the face, resulting in an early bath.

The striker could have gained his hattrick when the ball fell to his feet 10 yards from goal, but he hit the ball wide of the post.

He did guide the ball into the net eventually with a couple of minutes to go, but he was ruled offside by the linesman.

Then the controversy started. Dons swung a corner in which hit Tomer Hemed in the face. However the referee adjourned the ball hit his arm and gave a penalty in stoppage time. Incensed, half the Brighton team got booked for complaining and time wasting.

The albion fans’ hearts were in their mouths. Shocked, they knew if this went in it would be a huge blow to their promotion charge.

Carl Baker stepped up for the hosts…and missed the target to send the Seagulls’ players, coaches and supporters into raptures.

The coaches were jumping around the touchline in delight at the miss, they knew how much this game meant, and when the full time whistle blew, the fans had a belief this was their year.

The Brighton players also celebrated passionately at the final whistle in front of the travelling support, with Chris Hughton applauding the fans for a good two minutes.

The chanting began. “WE ARE GOING UP! SAY WE ARE GOING UP!” The noise was deafening. Fans jumping around, celebrating, some with tears of delight. They had been through it all in those last 20 minutes, and in the last few seasons they would arguably have seen their team draw that game. They just sense it’s their time.

The coach journey home was a quiet one. A majority of the fans slept, others trying to soak up what had just happened.

But one thing’s for sure. This club is together, and the good run keeps going. You just sense this could finally be the year Brighton break into the top flight for the first time in 36 years.