Going into his fight with Floyd Mayweather Saturday night, there was widespread dismissiveness of Conor McGregor's chances. He didn't belong in the ring with Mayweather. He wouldn't land a punch. Given that backdrop, McGregor and his supporters have to take some solace and even pride in his knockout defeat. McGregor looked like he belonged with a boxing icon, and it made for an entertaining fight.
Early on, Mayweather appeared to have difficulty figuring McGregor out. As the fight progressed, Mayweather found more openings and began to land with regularity. More important, McGregor tired, as he often has in longer MMA fights. McGregor's downfall was that cardio and not an inability to compete with Mayweather. McGregor also forced Mayweather to step up his aggression and score the sort of impressive finish that Mayweather hasn't always delivered.
After the fight, Mayweather acknowledged that McGregor was better than he expected. McGregor was positively glowing with enthusiasm, clearly pleased with the performance he delivered. He secured a massive payday and may have raised his status in the process. If McGregor returns to MMA (and he said he would after the fight), his fights will be even bigger events than they were prior to his boxing foray.