McGregor KO's Alvarez in historic night at Madison Square Garden
Irishman becomes 1st two-class champion in promotion's history
Conor McGregor knocked out Eddie Alvarez in the second round to win the UFC lightweight title and become the first two-class champion in the promotion's history.
McGregor dominated from the opening bell of the main event of UFC 205 in New York City's Madison Square Garden on Saturday night and the sold-out crowd roaring with each blow. McGregor is now the reigning featherweight and lightweight champ.
UFC has not decided if McGregor will be allowed to defend both championships. UFC President Dana White said McGregor could be about the only fighter in the promotion to handle that kind of fight load.
McGregor crouched inside the cage waiting for the bell to ring and attack Alvarez. McGregor was the clear aggressor from the start and dropped Alvarez three times in the first round. Alvarez, out of Philadelphia, bounced up the first two times and took a severe beating on the third. McGregor forced Alvarez to fight with his back to the cage and dominated the rest of the round.
McGregor placed his hands behind his back in the second, taunting and toying Alvarez to hit him. McGregor, UFC's biggest box office star, unloaded a left and ended the fight.
He demanded both belts and slapped them over his shoulder before he sat on top of the cage.
"I've spent a lot of time slaying everybody in the country," McGregor said. "I'd like to take the chance to apologize to absolutely nobody."
UFC debuts in the Big Apple
UFC was live and legal in New York for the first time since an MMA ban was lifted earlier this year.
"This is the biggest event in the history of MMA," UFC colour commentator Joe Rogan told the crowd.
UFC stacked the card with three title fights that were expected to help set a gate record of more than $17 million US at MSG. The 1999 boxing match between Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield drew a record $13.5 million.
Tyron Woodley defeated Stephen Thompson via majority draw to retain his welterweight title in a fantastic fight and Joanna Jedrzejczyk successfully defended her UFC women's strawweight championship with a unanimous decision win over Karolina Kowalkiewicz.
But the night belonged to McGregor.
"What's next for me," McGregor asked inside the cage.
The easy answer: Whatever the Irishman wants.
UFC had never run a show in New York City because of a two-decade ban imposed by New York that left only unsanctioned and unsafe MMA fights in the state. State lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed in April to end the ban following years of failed efforts by MMA supporters. The law authorizing the sport took effect in September.
The fans got plenty of bang — and kicks, punches and elbows — for their bucks.