Could A Conor McGregor Loss Make Him More Likable To MMA Fans?

Whoever said “Everybody loves a winner” clearly didn’t have Conor McGregor in mind. It’s an interesting situation with the reigning UFC Featherweight Champion. Few people are completely indifferent to him. With Conor, it’s often a matter of extreme admiration or extreme dislike.

This emotionally impulsive reaction is usually flamed by McGregor himself, a man known for his unique style of trash-talking. For instance, Conor was crowned “International Fighter of the Year” at the 2016 World MMA Awards in Las Vegas. What would have been deemed an opportunity for graciousness was instead a golden opportunity for quite a bit of “smack talk.”

As quoted by MMA Fighting:

“The who’s who of MMA I’m sure is there in their badly fitted suits, having a penny in their pocket. I heard Nate Diaz couldn’t even afford to fly over to Las Vegas for the ceremony. Frankie Edgar… I heard he’s dressed like a little Sheikh servant or something struggling to make a few quid.

You can watch the entirety of Conor McGregor being Conor McGregor in the hilarious clip below:

It’s moments like the one above that seems to get the better of others, MMA fans and fighters alike. The proud Irishman is undefeated in the UFC. More recently Conor’s been known for coming into matches saying all kinds of terrible things about opponents. It’s clearly about getting into their head well before blows are exchanged. Thus far this strategy (if it is a strategy) seems to be working.

However there’s one thing about which I’m curious, and that’s this persistent desire to see McGregor “shut up.” I don’t mean give up his trash-talking ways; there’s an ongoing campaign to see Conor humiliated in the Octagon. It feels very familiar if you’ve observed the response to Ronda Rousey’s embarrassing loss at the hands of Holly Holm. Something tells me that if McGregor were to meet a similar fate at the hands of a fighter like Rafael dos Anjos, Twitter might be even more cruel.

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If Conor McGregor were to lose at UFC 196 and lose by knockout — and I mean he gets rocked — we can anticipate people rushing on to social media with various memes, clips, and hashtags in response to this. What I’m curious about is what comes after all of this. A large part of the reason that Conor is so despised is because of his arrogance. I’d say an undefeated streak entitles one to some form of arrogance, but I think there is a sadistic part of fight fans that wants to know if it’s all for show.

Image via Buda Mendes/Getty Images

I feel confident in stating that a loss, followed by a return to form (a winning streak), might actually boost Conor McGregor’s popularity.

MMA fans would know that at McGregor’s core is a feisty Irishman — win or lose. If there is no arrogance following a terrible loss, only a sense of deflation, that could go one of two ways: pity or loathing. Some people may think they want to see Conor’s confidence shattered. That is until it actually happens. Then they’d feel bad for him and hope for a recovery of lost confidence. Others would dismiss him, viewing the “swagger” as a fake means of protecting his self-confidence.

Some UFC fans are going to dislike the Irish MMA fighter regardless of whether he wins or loses. Others are holding out for what they perceive will be an appropriate behavioral adjustment once Conor matures through defeat. Still others are simply waiting for something to laugh at all over social media.

Personally, I’m not invested in a Conor McGregor loss; I’m just genuinely curious at which way MMA fans will respond should Conor eventually lose. Do you think a humbling loss would make Conor McGregor more palatable to certain UFC fans? Share your thoughts below!

[Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images]