Twelve agonizingly long days, countless cities, five countries, four continents and one antagonistic Conor McGregor. That’s what reigning UFC featherweight king Jose Aldo (pictured) had to deal with during the UFC 189 World Tour to promote his June 11 shootout against the chatty McGregor.
The “UFC Embedded” cameras were stuck to Aldo tighter than McGregor’s custom suites along the entire way. The cameras were there for McGregor, too, but as everybody knows by now, he loves them. In fact, “Notorious” thrives off of them.
Every time the lights come on, that’s a chance for McGregor to sell his brand to a potential new customer. And the charismatic Irishman has been used-car-salesmanning it as if there was a clearance.
Even though McGregor continued to annoy Aldo at every turn, escalating to a near rumble on the final day of the tour after McGregor stole the title belt sitting on the podium in front of Aldo, when it’s all said and done, the only featherweight champ the UFC has ever known will look back on this arduous journey and thank McGregor for lining his pockets with cash.
Sure, McGregor might be the challenger, but he was undoubtedly the featured attraction on this tour. Media and fans alike sat at every press conference or watched every Embedded episode to see what McGregor was going to do next.
Aldo essentially came along for the ride. But that’s OK, he’ll ride McGregor’s coattails straight to the bank, as well. While “Scarface” is arguably one of the top five mixed martial artists to ever live, he hasn’t garnered the same type of affection other greats have. That inability to connect with the masses has directly affected his paychecks.
Along comes a McGregor. THe is the perfect adversary for Aldo – the Chael Sonnen to Aldo’s Anderson Silva, if you will. McGregor has a way with words that has drummed up business to the point where UFC president Dana White estimates UFC 189 will do $7 million at the gate and a million pay-per-view buys.
This fight is unquestionably Aldo’s largest payday – perhaps ever, unless he loses in an instant classic that sets up a rematch for the ages.
Aldo may have had to put up with McGregor’s antics in tight quarters for nearly two straight weeks, but for a Brazilian who used to be homeless, that sacrifice is well worth its weight in gold.
UFC 189 goes down inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.