5 times Conor McGregor proved his doubters completely wrong

McGregor v Cerrone
McGregor v Cerrone
Sunderam Saxena

Conor McGregor is often termed a loud-mouth who knows how to stay in the public eye. His eccentric personality is a product of a business-minded marketeer. However, having made his UFC debut back in 2013, the Irishman has silenced his haters in more ways, and on more occasions, than one.

When you look at the career graph that 'The Notorious' has had, there is no denying that the man is a legend. Therefore, in this article, we look back at five such incidents where Conor McGregor proved his doubters completely wrong.

5. Defeating Jose Aldo

Jose Aldo vs McGregor
Jose Aldo vs McGregor

Jose Aldo was the featherweight champion from his days at the WEC. He defended his title against reputed opponents like Chad Mendes, who had almost destroyed Conor McGregor on short notice at UFC 189, and former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.

Aldo had witnessed an unbridled reign in the featherweight division for almost 10 years. However, Conor McGregor proved that Aldo was only human.

Conor McGregor got into Jose Aldo's head. During UFC 194's promotional world tour in Brazil, Conor caught eyeballs throwing darts at Jose's photo pinned to a dartboard.

During another of the pre-fight press conferences, which took place in Dublin, Conor insulted Jose Aldo by snatching his belt, before shouting, "You're looking at the king!".

Jose went on the record to say how badly he wanted to punish Conor. But when McGregor finally faced the featherweight champ, he knocked him out in 13 seconds.

Speaking after the fight with the featherweight title on his shoulder, Conor McGregor said nonchalantly, "Nobody can take that left-hand shot."

Jose hadn't lost for 10 years but was seen nearly in tears in the dressing room after that loss to McGregor. His career had changed forever.

4. First double-champ

Conor McGregor becomes UFC's first double-champ
Conor McGregor becomes UFC's first double-champ

Right after the victory against Jose Aldo, Conor McGregor decided to fight for another belt. He was already a double champ in the Cage Warriors but wanted to repeat the feat in the UFC as well.

UFC President Dana White liked the idea and gave McGregor a shot in 2016 against Rafael Dos Anjos, the lightweight champion.

However, weeks before the fight, Dos Anjos pulled out of the fight owing to a leg injury, making room for Nate Diaz to enter the fray.

Conor McGregor fought Nate Diaz at UFC 196 in March 2016, and lost in what was one of the biggest upsets in UFC history.

On the other hand, Rafael Dos Anjos went against Eddie Alvarez at UFC Fight Night 90 to defend his title. Eddie Alvarez knocked Dos Anjos out cold in the first round, becoming the lightweight champion - much to Conor's displeasure.

Later that year in November, Conor faced Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205. After a few takedowns and an eventual KO in the second round, 'The Notorious' became the first ever UFC fighter to hold titles in two weight divisions simultaneously.

It wasn't the first time this had been attempted in the UFC, though. BJ Penn, who was the lightweight champion in 2008 had tried to conquer the welterweight title in 2009 against George St-Pierre at UFC 94, although unsuccessfully.

After Conor's historic achievement, Daniel Cormier became the second UFC fighter to hold two titles at the same time - light heavyweight and heavyweight.

Amanda Nunes and Henry Cejudo achieved the feat soon after. However, Conor McGregor was the first ever to do so - proving his doubters wrong.

3. Lightweight to welterweight

McGregor welterweight (top) vs featherweight (bottom)
McGregor welterweight (top) vs featherweight (bottom)

After Rafael Dos Anjos pulled out of UFC 196 against Conor McGregor, Dana White named Nate Diaz as the replacement. However, the interesting thing was that the fight wasn't in lightweight, but in welterweight instead.

For most of his career, Conor McGregor was a featherweight fighter, but showing up for the weigh-ins for the fight against Diaz, he looked a natural welterweight. In a promotional interview, UFC President Dana White also called Conor the "man out of category".

However, Conor didn't look out of category and gained mass in proper proportions to his body, unlike Max Holloway who weighed 70 kgs ahead of UFC 236 against Dustin Poirier, getting much skinnier in the actual fight.

Conor McGregor showed great work ethic and training, earning the respect of his doubters for all the efforts that must have gone in the process of making weight.

2. First MMA millionaire

McGregor before the 'Money fight'
McGregor before the 'Money fight'

Conor McGregor should be credited with changing the pay-scale in the UFC. Before his era, a typical fighter was paid $5,000. If a top-ranked fighter would win the match, their payment would still be no more than $100,000.

Conor McGregor, however, was the first UFC fighter to receive $1 million for a UFC fight.

As reported by Rovell, Conor McGregor was paid highly for his victory against Jose Aldo at UFC 194. He received a whopping $500,000 for the fight itself, with an additional $90,000 in bonuses.

When we factor in the thus-far-undisclosed share of his PPV buys, the Irishman's prize money amounts to "more than $1 million." And that was back in 2015.

Even now, most UFC fighters rely on winning the 'fight of the night' or 'performance of the night' awards, that could help them bag a bonus of $50,000 each.

However, the amount that 'The Notorious' has accumulated in comparison to top-ranked UFC fighters like Michael Bisping, Dustin Poirier, Khabib Nurmagomedov, etc. is way, way more.

It's reported that Conor McGregor had bagged $3 million as his fighting salary at UFC 246, when he made his comeback against Donald Cerrone. After factoring in the gate revenue and the PPV buys of the night, the amount would go way more than $3 million.

The Irishman was the only UFC fighter to land on the list of Forbes' Highest Paid Athletes in 2016.

1. Pull-off a win on one leg

McGregor vs Holloway at UFC Fight Night 26
McGregor vs Holloway at UFC Fight Night 26

After a memorable UFC debut where he blasted through Marcus Brimage in just 67 seconds in 2013, Conor McGregor had taken on Max Holloway for his second fight.

The Notorious had the decision in his favor after three action-packed rounds, but what was shocking was that McGregor fought most of the fight on just one leg.

After the win at UFC Fight Night 26, Conor McGregor went through an MRI to investigate a damaged knee, which he heard pop during the second round of the fight.

While doctors were of the belief that the Irishman had just suffered a strain on his lateral collateral ligament (LCL), the MRI shocked the world, revealing a much more severe injury.

McGregor was diagnosed with a complete anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear as well as a strained MCL and a posterior horn meniscus tear. The Notorious had not only tolerated extreme pain for more than five minutes, but had fought through it.

While tolerating the pain throughout the fight was commendable in itself, McGregor had managed to win as well - proving himself to be not just a loud-mouth, but a legend.

Edited by Sankalp Srivastava


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