Before he became a global sensation, Conor McGregor was a 24-year-old Cage Warriors double champ who announced his arrival in the UFC in 2012 with a first-round knockout win over Marcus Brimmage, The Ultimate Fighter season 8 finalist.
Conor McGregor (22-5 MMA, 12-3 UFC) fought Marcus Brimage (7-7 MMA, 4-4 UFC) in the prelims of UFC on Fuel: Mousasi vs Latifi on April 6, 2013 in Stockholm. The Irishman put on a striking clinic, making good use of his long reach against a much shorter Brimage to knock him out. To his credit, Marcus Brimage realised the technical discrepancy he had over the Irishman and took the center of the octagon from the very start to turn the fight into a brawl.
But the Notorious One showed championship-level patience even on his debut and picked his shots carefully to rock Brimage multiple times before landing the left uppercut and hook that sent his foe to the mat. It took only a couple of more follow-up shots before the referee stepped in to stop the contest at the 1:07 mark of the very first round.
Conor McGregor let the world know that he was a unique talent with a post-fight interview serving as the cherry on top of an exquisite cake. McGregor called out UFC president Dana White for presenting his case for a fight night bonus in his vintage swagger with a phrase that became synonymous to his name for a while. The knockout win earned McGregor a $60,000 Knockout of the Night bonus.
"Dana, 60 G's babyyyy," Conor McGregor said
Conor McGregor's road to the UFC
As revealed by Conor Mcgregor's coach John Kavanagh in a 2020 Instagram post, their first attempt to sign with the UFC was met with a rejection from UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby in 2012.
"At the moment, the featherweight division is terribly impacted from so many UFC lightweights moving down in weight. So I'm not looking to sign anyone else for a while, but hopefully, it will clear up soon and guys like Conor will get the opportunity," Sean Shelby wrote in the email.
Not deterred by the rejection, Conor McGregor went on to win the Cage Warriors lightweight title fight in a little over two weeks after Shelby's email to become a double champion for the first time in his career. McGregor defeated Ivan Buchinger via first-round knockout to earn the spot that made him a big name in the European MMA circuit.
The hype around Conor McGregor was too massive for UFC president Dana White to ignore during a visit to Ireland in 2013. White then invited the Irishman to Las Vegas for a discussion, only to get blown away by his personality. Conor McGregor ended up signing a deal with the UFC to fight at featherweight and started raising the UFC's stock along with him right from his debut. The rest is history.
"When I got in my car, I called Lorenzo (Fertitta) and I said, 'Let me tell you what, I don't know if this kid can fight, but if he can even throw a punch, this kid is going to be a huge superstar,' Dana White told
Also Read: What is Conor McGregor's Net Worth in 2021?