A pair of winners in UFC 194 this weekend should be on collectors’ radars a bit more after picking up championships — but don’t think for a second that they’ll immediately appeal to the same crowd.
For new UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold, it’s been a journey that started elsewhere — Strikeforce.
“I believe I’ve been the best in this sport for a long time,” he said after topping Chris Weidman by TKO. “People want to beat down my Strikeforce accomplishments. I’ve taken my game to a newer level. I new I’d come in and I’d outperform them and I’d get the job done.”
In the Octagon, he’s 15-2. On cardboard, Rockhold has appeared on UFC cards since 2012 when his first cards were found in Topps Finest — a product that also includes the debut of Ronda Rousey and the best-selling autos in MMA. His only autos in that year are in Finest, while he has nearly 40 different certified cards up to and including 2015 releases.
The other big winner on Saturday night was Conor McGregor, who knocked out Jose Aldo in 13 seconds to take the UFC Featherweight Championship and back up his public persona — one of a talker — that’s brought him more into the mainstream and made the Irish fighter a name even non-MMA fans might know.
“All week I have been watching these videos on the Internet of the Irish fans,” McGregor said after his win. “They are making this sport what it is. The whole eyes of the world are on my country, and I am very proud of that.”
McGregor is 19-2 in the Octagon and has more than 120 cards released by Topps since 2013. His first autos in that debut season — found in 2013 Topps UFC Bloodlines — but he’s also had roughly 40 autos in subsequent releases and in Topps’ two releases this year, UFC Champions and UFC Knockout.
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