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Archives: McGregor Proves Popularity Not So Much About Winning (2019)

The following article was published on this day three years ago. It is presented to you in its original, unaltered form, courtesy of The MMA News Archives.

[ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 26, 2019, 1:52 PM]

Headline: Quote: Conor McGregor Proves Popularity “Not So Much About Winning”

Conor McGregor is undoubtedly the most popular figure in mixed martial arts. None of the losses suffered to Nate Diaz, Khabib Nurmagomedov, or a boxing loss to Floyd Mayweather in 2017 have changed that fact.

One fighter who has done nothing but win in recent years but historically struggled with popularity is Tyron Woodley. Woodley believes that Conor McGregor is living proof that, unlike other sports, MMA is not about statistics or your record, but about the spectacle: (via MMA Fighting)

“This is a person that, I don’t give stats, he’s lost a few times and won a few times,” Woodley said of Conor McGregor at a media lunch scrum this week. “But look at his mystique he has. So it’s telling you it’s not so much about winning. It’s about the showmanship. It’s about what you bring to the table. It’s about making people give a f*ck. You gotta find a way to do both. You gotta find a way to do both of it. You’ve got to find a way to make people invested, want to see me lose, want to see me win.”

Though Woodley believes Conor McGregor exemplifies this reality the most, he believes there are several other lower scale examples of how styles don’t just, as they say, “make” fights, but the right style ensures that there will be more fights to make for the athlete:

“We saw with [Keith] Jardine, we saw with so many fighters forever that, subpar, .500 records that stayed around that, then you have a guy who lose maybe one fight and they’re gone,” Woodley said. “And I just think that, when you look at a sport? Think about basketball. It don’t matter if you wear a pimped out custom suit, talk the most sh*t as possible, if you can shoot a three, you can shoot a three. How many times you seen Steph Curry talking crap? You get paid the big bucks based on how you deliver out on the court.”

“If you go out there and you punch and you bleed and you brawl and you go back and forth, you really can’t lose in that situation,” Woodley said. “You can get your ass whupped and knocked out, but if you fought to a point where everyone was like ‘oh my god, he’s so tough,’ not only with the fighters and the fans but the promotion, you’ve kind of almost put yourself in the mold where they’re going to keep you.”

Do you agree with Tyron Woodley? Is popularity in MMA based more on fighting style and spectacle than wins and losses? And is Conor McGregor an example of this?

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