"In the time since, the world has changed economically, geopolitically, and culturally. The business of sports has also changed, along with our definition of stardom. The streaming wars and the explosion of content platforms has changed everything, and McGregor has mostly been sitting on the sidelines during much of it. Yes, he still carries cachet, and he is bound to capture the attention of the sports world when he arrives in the cage across from Donald Cerrone. But at this point, all of that is in danger of evaporating with a loss.
We live in a world of immediacy and results. With his long MMA absences, McGregor has provided neither. He may still hold his bond with certain fans through social media – he has nearly 50 million combined followers on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook – but his success is far enough in the rearview mirror that it may seem to many like nostalgia."
"Casual sports fans who caught on to McGregor-mania late and tuned in to see what the noise was about may have only experienced his high-profile losses to Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2018 and Floyd Mayweather in 2017. In those instances, viewers may have left wondering if he was more hype than substance, unaware of the significant and well-earned accomplishments that came before.
"Furthermore, his recent past is littered with a series of troubling events."
"McGregor has work to do to try to win over those who left him behind, a task that is particularly fraught with danger because this time, he is supposed to win. Against Nurmagomedov, he was a moderate underdog; against Mayweather, he was a sizable underdog. Anyone could at least rationalize those defeats due to style and experience, respectively. But not this one. This one, he has to win."