Saturday 12th of December 2015 was a historic day for the combat sports world. On this day, Conor McGregor knocked out Jose Aldo, in a championship fight record 13 seconds, to become the new UFC featherweight champion.
Since then, Conor has become a megastar across the globe, a two division UFC champion, fought Floyd Mayweather in the biggest boxing fight ever and has become the highest paid athlete in the world. However, what if at UFC 194, Jose Aldo beat McGregor?
I think the first question to ask after that is, would Conor be as big as he is now if he lost that fight? For me, the answer is no. He would be still be huge and 100% be the highest paid fighter on the roster, however, I think losing that fight derails a vast amount of the hype train that followed Conor leading into that fight and after exiting as well.
Also, we would’ve probably never seen him fight Khabib, as the only reason he moved up to lightweight was to become the first ever two division champ. However, I’m still certain we would’ve seen Conor fight Nate Diaz either way as they were two of the biggest draws at the time, win or lose and it appeared that they wanted to fight each other prior to 2016.
Nevertheless, although Conor’s path to greatness may have changed vastly, I still think, he’ll be a household name in the MMA community and would make more money than most guys in the UFC, similar to how Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal are now, but with a slightly bigger fan base.
On the contrary, Aldo’s championship reign lasts for nearly 7 years rather than 5, and he gets the respect he deserves as an all-time great in the sport. If Aldo wins that fight, I believe more people would place him in and around their top 5 of all time, yet, a lot of the time, he doesn’t even make a lot of peoples top 10 list. I believe you’d see Aldo being compared to the likes of Anderson Silva, Demetrious Johnson and Amanda Nunes.
I still believe he moves to Bantamweight after losing to Volkanovski but I’m sure he’d feature as a co-main of cards instead of being 2nd or 3rd on. This is simply due to him being appreciated more and being a more recognisable name to casual fans. His 20 fight winning streak from 2005 till 2017 gets talked about more and Max Holloway gains even more recognition for beating the greatest featherweight of all time than he did initially.
Of course all of this is hypothetical, but it’s fun to speculate what could’ve happened if one bit of history is changed.