BEFORE LAST Saturday night's UFC featherweight title fight in Las Vegas, the challenger, Conor McGregor, made a brazen offer: Anyone providing a betting slip confirming that he or she had wagered on McGregor to win in the first round would be granted admission to his victory party. What seemed like just the latest example of the 5'9", 145-pound McGregor's peerless self-regard surely ended up costing someone a hefty bar tab. In what was less a sporting event than a sensationally violent Vine, McGregor needed just 13 seconds to knock out Jose Aldo, the champ and the favorite, who had come in with a 25--1 record. With the first punch he landed, McGregor's left hand collided with Aldo's jaw. The Brazilian fell to the canvas and a new mark for the shortest title fight in UFC history was set.
The timing of the punch was as exquisite as that of McGregor's dramatic win. On Nov. 14, Ronda Rousey, the sport's leading lady, was brutally defeated, losing both her belt and her aura of invincibility in a second-round knockout loss to Holly Holm. Into the void strides McGregor, a 27-year-old Dubliner and a fighter as voluble as he is valuable. What's next? A rematch with Aldo—whose only previous defeat came in 2005—is a possibility. So is a fight against New Jersey's 34-year-old Frankie Edgar. McGregor may also move up to the 155-pound division. Regardless, he is now the brightest star in the UFC constellation. Bet on it.
FAN OF THE YEAR
PRESENTED BY FANSIDED
As a boy, Dennis Gleason played sports to escape his difficult home life. As a young man, in 1977, he proposed to his wife en route to a Bruins-Sabres game. Now, at age 64, Gleason uses sports to contribute to his community of Niagara Falls, N.Y. A prevention coordinator for 27 years, Gleason is also a youth pastor who erects basketball courts all over town. "My life goes God, family, sports," says Gleason, a diehard Buffalo supporter who has been named FanSided.com's Fan of the Year.
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