UFC makes its way to New York City this month for the first time ever in what promises to eclipse any UFC event before it. With three title fights lined up on a stellar card, this could be one to remember.
The headline bout sees current Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor look to make history by becoming the first ever UFC two weight world champion when he battles Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez. This will be just the second time in UFC history that champions in different divisions will fight for the same title, highlighting the magnitude of what McGregor is bidding to do.
As part of the build-up to UFC 205 we’ve had a brief look at careers of both Alvarez and McGregor, and how they’ve made it as the headline of the biggest UFC event in history. Whilst not forgetting to show you a tasty reel of their respective highlights.
Originating from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Alvarez began his professional MMA career in 2003 and went on to win his first ten bouts, before eventually losing out to UFC veteran Nick Thompson in 2007. Alvarez made his name winning belts in many small-time MMA competitions, including BodogFight, DREAM in Japan and eventually the more well-known Bellator. He was present for the inaugural Bellator event in 2009, picking up the Lightweight belt in his third fight for the American mixed martial arts company. After six successful bouts for Bellator, Alvarez was eventually conquered by current Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler, a loss he’d go on to avenge in his last ever fight for the company. After claiming the lightweight belt, Eddie was released from his contract in August 2014 and consequently signed to a deal with the UFC just days later.
He made his promotional debut against fan favourite Donald Cerrone in the co-main event at UFC 178, losing via unanimous decision. After that debut loss, he’d go on to win his next two bouts to set up a title challenge with Rafael dos Anjos in July of this year, going in as a heavy underdog. Despite being heavily unfavoured to knock the champ Anjos off his top spot, Alvarez found his range early in the first round, striking his opponent with a flurry of successful punches and eventually winning the fight by TKO. Eddie Alvarez was UFC Lightweight Champion.
Much like most professional MMA fighters, McGregor started his career in a succession of low-key competitions such as Cage of Truth, Chaos FC and Cage Warriors. Most his early bouts were contested in his home of Dublin in Ireland, suffering two losses in his opening six bouts after turning professional in 2008. After his second loss, to Joseph Duffy who is a current UFC fighter also, McGregor would go on to win his next fifteen bouts picking up belts in the lightweight and featherweight divisions of Cage Warriors in 2012. He vacated the belts at the start of 2013 to sign a multi-fight deal with the UFC, becoming just the second Irish fighter to do so. His debut was against The Ulitmate Fighter 14 champion Marcus Brimage, who fell victim to Conor’s aggressive attacking style, earning the Irishman ‘Knockout of the Night’ on his debut. Four more successful bouts in the UFC lead McGregor to calling out long-running Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo after his victory in 2015, running into the crowd to confront the Brazilian after winning via TKO.
A fight was put in place for McGregor to challenge for the title at UFC 189, before Aldo pulled out because of a rib injury, meaning Conor had to settle for a bout with Chad Mendes where he’d go to pick up the interim belt. Aldo v McGregor finally happened in 2015 and became the shortest ever UFC title fight when the challenger McGregor knocked Aldo out in the thirteenth second of the first round to become Featherweight Champion. 2016 was to be the year McGregor raised his profile to one of the most sought after fighters in the world with two sell out bouts against welterweight favourite Nate Diaz. He picked up his first UFC loss in the first bout via rear-naked choke, and had his revenge five months later with a majority decision. Now that score was settled, McGregor was ready to make history and become the first-ever holder of two UFC belts.