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Months of build-up, countless staredowns and several countries visited on an unprecedented world tour. But it all ended in just 13 seconds.
That's how long it took Conor McGregor to finish his intense rivalry with Jose Aldo on this day in 2015. McGregor fulfilled his prophecy with one lethal left hook as he ended Aldo's dominant reign as UFC featherweight champion. This was the beginning of the McGregor era.
On this day, 2015:
Conor McGregor slept Jose Aldo inside 13 seconds :scream:
- UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) December 12, 2018
Aldo dismissed McGregor as a joker. A clown. He wasn't alone in that brutal assessment with fellow fighters also echoing his sentiment.
But he proved his worth by picking off five wins inside the famed octagon before beating Chad Mendes to become the interim UFC featherweight champion to set up an undisputed clash with Aldo.
Aldo and McGregor clocked thousands of miles in airtime to promote UFC 194. Their constant back-and-forth teetered on the edge of explosion. They almost clashed at a press conference in Dublin when McGregor snatched his belt. The two had to be separated by Dana White after nearly coming to blows on stage.
McGregor then arrived for fight week in a state of Zen. He was a toned down version of his usual histrionic self. He even bowed to Aldo after they faced off.
McGregor approached fight night like every fight - confident, primed for a battle and draped in the tri-colours as he bounced his way into the Octagon. Aldo followed shortly after and he cut a tensed figure with Joe Rogan saying he's feeling the "pressure of this moment".
As 'Big' John McCarthy issued his final instructions, Aldo didn't make eye contact with McGregor who eyed him up like his prey. They refused to touch gloves and went to combat.
Aldo and McGregor threw a few feelers before the champion lunged at McGregor who countered with a perfectly timed left hook which immediately knocked out the Brazilian. He then landed a hammer-fist for good measure before McCarthy stopped the bout with just 13 seconds gone on the clock.
McGregor's shot defeated Aldo for the first time in 10 years.
"Precision beats power and timing beats speed. And that's what you saw there," he said when explaining his victory.
McGregor went from being the joker to the king in a matter of 13 seconds. His UFC 194 victory is still fastest finish in UFC title fight history. He went on to become a household name, and the biggest star in the company who everyone wanted a piece of.