Love him or hate him, but you have to respect Conor McGregor
The world of MMA has never witnessed any athlete rise to greatness, as emphatically and as quickly as Conor McGregor did. His rise has been meteoric. His journey has been incredible.
Back in 2013, when an Irish loudmouth made his debut in UFC, no one knew that they are witnessing the debut of the man who would go on to knockout the seemingly invincible Jose Aldo in just thirteen seconds. Back then, no one would have imagined that he would go on to become the first two-division champion in the history of UFC.
No one, but Conor McGregor. The Mystic Mac called it, and he indeed achieved everything that he had said. You can love him, or you can hate him, but you have to respect Conor McGregor for everything he has achieved.
When the Irishman announced to the world that 'we are not here to take part, we are here to take over', the world was unaware of the extent to which Conor McGregor would take over the sport of MMA. He is arguably the biggest draw in the history of MMA. No one can sell his fights like Conor McGregor does.
Be it the press conferences or weigh-ins, he manages to make his appearances an event in itself. His verbal assault on every one of his opponents at the press conferences, his antics at the weigh-in, with everything he does, ‘the Notorious One’ makes sure that the world looks forward to his next fight with undivided attention.
But maybe, there is a method to his madness.
UFC has had its share of great talkers with the likes of Chael Sonnen, Tito Ortiz, Rampage Jackson and Michael Bisping. There have been some incredible showboaters like Anderson Silva, Nate and Nick Diaz. But there is only one Conor McGregor. The world has never seen anyone like him.
It’s tough to call whether he is the next Muhammad Ali or he's the first Conor McGregor. A comparison with Muhammad Ali would draw flak from all quarters, but for his fans, he has earned himself the right to be compared with the 'The People's Champion'.
However, Conor rubbishes the comparison himself and has no qualms about calling Ali the greatest on all time in this tweet-
Truth be told, no one would ever come close to Conor McGregor's greatness as well.
But there's one big difference between being a Conor and a Muhammad Ali fan; a Conor fan runs the risk of being called a fanboy, a casual fan, or a noob. Although many core fans have accepted and acknowledged Conor McGregor's greatness, a large chunk of these 'pundits' still like to call Conor's victories insignificant.
In their opinion, he has still got a lot to prove. The question is, how much more does he have to prove? A fight against a heavyweight, maybe?
While the world is used to brash and wild Conor McGregor with his perfectly fitting suits and custom made watches, driving his Rolls Royce and posing with stacks of cash, only a few are aware of his humble beginnings as a plumber in Dublin.
His father wasn't appreciative of his fighting endeavours. After a year of being an apprentice plumber, he left his job to follow his passion for MMA.
“I did a year in that, and it just wasn’t for me, you know. It’s either all or nothing in this game. If you’re not training twice a day, if you’re not dedicated you’re not going anywhere. I felt I had enough talent, enough dedication and enough love for the sport that it was time to pack up my job and chase my dream,” Conor said in an interview.
This old interview shows a rather humble Conor McGregor talking about his dream to become a future UFC Lightweight champion, something he achieved after defeating Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205.
For the next few years, Conor did what he said in the interview and went on to become a star in the Irish fighting circuit. In his last fight before joining UFC, he defeated Ivan Buchinger at Cage Warriors FC 51 on 31st December 2012, to become the first European professional mixed martial artist to hold titles in two divisions simultaneously.
He replicated the same feat in UFC as well after knocking out Eddie Alvarez in the second round at UFC 205.