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The adulation of your supporters is one thing, but the admiration of your peers is another thing entirely.

Five years ago, Conor McGregor made good on his word and delivered one of the finest performances ever seen in a UFC world title fight when he scythed through then-lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez in the first-ever UFC event inside Madison Square Garden. The win added 155-pound gold to the featherweight world title he captured less than a year prior, and repeated the ‘champ champ’ status he had achieved in Cage Warriors some years prior.

But it wasn’t just the fact that he won, it was the manner in which he did it. From the opening bell McGregor was a beat ahead of Alvarez, the hard-nosed Philadelphian who came into the fight with 28 wins from 32 career bouts, and seemed to flummox him with just about every shot he threw.

The damage was quickly visible on Alvarez’s face and in his performance, as his own blueprint for how he expected the fight to go melted away before his very eyes.

The first round saw McGregor land several knockdown shots as he timed his opponent’s advances with cool cage-savvy, and ended the fight in the second when he launched into a four-punch combo after Alvarez whiffed with an overhand.

The win was expected by McGregor but perhaps not by some members of the mixed martial arts community — but after that round and a half or so, that tune changed and several top fighters took to social media to indicate just how impressed they were by the Dubliner’s title-winning performance.