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Two belts in his Conor

McGregor becomes first UFC fighter to be a double champion

Conor McGregor is now the 9-1 in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. His only loss came at the hands of Nate Diaz, whom he defeated in the rematch.

Featherweight champion Conor McGregor capped mixed martial arts' triumphant arrival in New York yesterday morning (Singapore time) by knocking out Eddie Alvarez to claim the lightweight crown.

He becomes the first fighter in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to hold two UFC belts simultaneously.

McGregor downed Alvarez three times in the opening round, leaving the champion stunned and on the back foot for the entire five minutes, and it didn't get any better for the Philadelphia native.

Alvarez's attempts to take the fight to the mat were thwarted by the 28-year-old, who continued to dictate the pace in the second in front of a packed house at Madison Square Garden, most of whom were cheering for the Irishman.

Midway through the second round, McGregor unleashed another combination and this time there was no way back for Alvarez as the Irishman finished him off with a brutal four-punch combination.

"Where's my second belt," Ireland's hugely popular UFC champion shouted, after one was wrapped around his waist, while cheers from a legion of ardent supporters rang around the arena.

The UFC 205 card was the promotion's first foray to New York, which in April became the last US state to legalise professional MMA fights.

The Big Apple, and the iconic Garden, proved the perfect stage for McGregor, who has become one of MMA's biggest draws not only for his exploits in the octagon but also for his swagger outside of it.

With his second championship belt delivered and both displayed proudly on his shoulders, McGregor took the microphone and adopted a mock-serious tone.

"I'd like to take this chance to apologise to - absolutely nobody!" he said, fuelling renewed cheers.

Alvarez, 32, was in survival mode from the start until referee John McCarthy called a halt as McGregor continued to pepper his prone opponent with punches.

"He's not on my level," said McGregor, who improved to 21-3 in MMA competition and 9-1 in UFC.

"Eddie is a warrior but he shouldn't be in here with me. I am a different level. Now, I celebrate as champion of two divisions."

Alvarez lost the belt he won from Rafael dos Anjos in July and fell to 28-5 (3-2 in UFC). - AFP.

BY THE NUMBERS

9-1 Conor McGregor is now the 9-1 in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. His only loss came at the hands of Nate Diaz, whom he defeated in the rematch.

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