5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) / 155 lb (70 kg; 11 st 1 lb) / Lightweight
There is no question that Conor McGregor is the biggest star in UFC history and it is not even close. With the records that he has broken in terms of revenue, he is without a doubt the biggest asset the UFC has even today.
Life before UFC career
Like most fighters, McGregor did not come from a wealthy family, in fact, he was on welfare pay prior to joining the UFC. He also worked as a Plumber’s apprentice but his dream of becoming a UFC champion was still there. He eventually kept working hard with his girlfriend Dee Devlin by his side until the UFC discovered a potential star.
When Dana White first met him, he instantly knew that McGregor was going to be a star. His words were if McGregor can throw a punch, he will instantly be a star. McGregor just had charisma and was great on the mic, that made him entertaining. His trash talks, fashion, the entertaining fighting style were what made him a massive star.
McGregor put his name on UFC’s radar when he was competing at Cage Warrior. He was already a crowd favorite in his city of Dublin. He eventually went on to become a two-division Cage Warrior champion (featherweight and lightweight).
In his UFC debut, he faced Marcus Brimage. It was a great showing of superior striking from McGregor. He was side-stepping and landing vicious uppercuts that knocked a durable Marcus Brimage out.
In his second fight, he was booked against Max Holloway. Unfortunately, McGregor suffered an ACL Tear injury in the second round. It forced McGregor to grapple more and just win the rounds. He was not able to finish Holloway but it was a clear unanimous win.After that, UFC granted McGregor his first-ever Main-event at his own home soil Dublin, Ireland. He faced and finished Diego Brandao at the last minute of the very first round.
The Mystic Mac prediction was also starting to increase his hype, he predicted that he will finish Poirier in the first round and the manner of how he will finish it. He was starting to take over the division at this point.
He then faced one more contender, Dennis Siver before facing for the title. It was expected that McGregor would run through Siver and he did just that. Finished Siver in the second round.
There was no more argument that McGregor wants to fight for the title, and the UFC gave it to him. The world tour started for the Aldo vs McGregor fight, it was a great way to sell the fight and McGregor definitely had the gift of entertaining the fans.
Unfortunately, Jose Aldo was forced to pull out of the fight due to an injury. Chad Mendes took the fight on 2 weeks’ notice and it was for the interim featherweight belt. Many said it was a dangerous fight since Mendes was an elite wrestler.
McGregor did have difficulties with Mendes’s wrestling but he still found a way to get back up. He was taken down more times than he ever had in his UFC run, and it was Mendes dominating most of the fight but eventually, Mendes gassed. It was at that moment, McGregor capitalized and finished Mendes at the last seconds of the second round. He became the interim featherweight champion. Since McGregor was the interim, it was inevitable that he will face Jose Aldo next. During that time, Aldo was the #1 pound-for-pound fighter and he was going in as the favorite. UFC 194 broke records and McGregor defied the odds. He went on to finish Aldo in just 13 seconds. It was those moments that fans were genuinely shocked, as Aldo was undefeated for 10 years prior to that fight. McGregor gained superstardom because he became the undisputed champion.
After that McGregor wanted to replicate his two-division champion like in his Cage Warrior Days. He was about to face Rafael Dos Anjos but RDA was forced to pull out due to injury as well. Nate Diaz stepped in but couldn’t make 155 in a short amount of time, so the UFC booked it as a Welterweight fight.
Going into the fight, McGregor was oozing with confidence and may have underestimated Diaz in the early parts of the fight. He was throwing flashy strikes that would lead to him gassing in the later parts, meanwhile, Diaz was just getting better as the rounds go on. Not only that, but Diaz was also known to be durable with great endurance, so looking to finish him in under round 1 was not the best game plan.
Diaz gave McGregor his first-ever UFC loss, and McGregor demanded an immediate rematch. Both parties agreed on it and the fight was probably one of the greatest wars in UFC history. McGregor was piecing up Diaz but Diaz was not slowing down. McGregor managed to win a majority decision. It was a close fight that both fighters gave their all.
Two Division Champion
Since the Diaz chapter ended, McGregor went back to his original goal which was to fight for the lightweight strap. Eddie Alvarez just beat Dos Anjos for the title so the UFC booked UFC 205 Alvarez vs McGregor.
The fight may have been McGregor’s greatest performance to date. For a challenger to dismantle Alvarez so easily was truly astonishing. McGregor was just too fast and too accurate that Alvarez had no answer. McGregor became the first champion to hold two division belts simultaneously.
Mayweather vs McGregor
After winning two belts, McGregor chased a money fight against Floyd Mayweather. Both were trash-talking each other but it was obvious that money was the main motivator as to why the fight happened. As expected, Mayweather won the fight but McGregor performed way better than expected. He landed great shots against one of the best boxers of this era.
McGregor was later stripped off of his UFC belt due to inactivity. It was unfair for the lightweights to wait for McGregor so they stripped him.
McGregor vs Khabib
Khabib Nurmagomedov eventually became the UFC undisputed champion but there was an incident that started major bad blood days before the title fight. Khabib went to confront McGregor’s teammate Artem Lobov and even slapped him to which McGregor wanted to get back.
McGregor was not happy with how they treated his teammate, Lobov that he flew to the States just to confront Khabib. He threw a dolly on the bus that Khabib was riding and injured some of the fighters as well.
The UFC booked UFC 229, McGregor vs Khabib. It was already expected that the fight will become the biggest due to the fanbase, storyline, bad blood. Khabib was just the superior fighter that night. McGregor was submitted in the fourth round via neck crank.
There was also an incident involving Khabib and McGregor’s cornermen, Dillon Danis. It ignited a public brawl, it was not a good look for the UFC.
McGregor was set to make his return after a 2-year layoff. He was set to face Donald Cerrone but at welterweight. The fight ended so quick, as McGregor threw brutal shoulder strikes that busted Cerrone’s eye in just the first exchange. McGregor then landed a picture-perfect head kick that led to the finish.
McGregor vs Poirier TRILOGY
At that point, Poirier was the number one contender and has a loss against McGregor. The UFC booked their rematch and the winner would likely fight for the vacant title. Unfortunately, being away from the sport and was focused on a potential Manny Pacquiao fight, McGregor underestimated Poirier’s leg kicks.
McGregor showed great boxing but he did not respect the damage from the leg kicks which led to his first MMA knockout loss. It was a brutal loss for McGregor since he has never been knocked out before.
Poirier accepted the trilogy over fighting for the vacant belt. In the fight, McGregor initiated with more kicks but once he got clipped, McGregor initiated a clinch that led to Poirier on a better ground position. Both had moments and when they went back up, McGregor suffered a gruesome injury that stopped the fight.
It was an unfortunate ending but that is part of the sport. McGregor is now focused on recovery from his injury and is still looking to get back inside the Octagon once more.