Even if you don’t pay attention to UFC, you’ve probably heard the name Conor McGregor. He’s a highly decorated mixed martial artist who loves to party and doesn’t mince his words. When this Irish bad boy isn’t making a name for himself in the ring, he’s making our jaws drop with his antics.
McGregor might like his flashy suits and he sure does know how to throw an insult (and a punch) but there is more than meets the eye. Find out how McGregor went from schoolyard scraps to making $30 million for a single fight with Floyd Mayweather.
He Didn’t Get In Your Average Schoolyard Fights
As a kid growing up in Ireland, McGregor was like many boys his age and would get in scuffles every once in a while on the schoolyard. While most kids just fight with their instincts, McGregor was different. For a young Conor, he would leave the fight and analyze every single move of what had just happened.
If he won, he’d think about which moves put him on top. If he lost, he’d start thinking about what moves he could have done differently. The habit started out as a way to protect himself, but over time, it turned into appreciating an art form.
One Fight Changed Everything
While he continued to get in schoolyard scraps, McGregor took up interest in other sports like soccer. His interested changed when he ended up in one of the worst fights of his life. McGregor had a crush on a girl with an older boyfriend. The boyfriend wanted to teach young Conor a lesson so he got together with some friends to jump him.
McGregor would later say it was one of the most traumatic experiences of his life, but it inspired him to want to learn more about martial arts and begin training. When he was 12, he began boxing classes.
He Was Going To Be A Plumber Until He Met Tom Egan
McGregor had always been serious about his fighting skills, but he never considered turning it into a career. When he was 17, he attended a technical school and began a plumbing apprenticeship. McGregor continued boxing but only for fun. During his apprenticeship, he met future UFC fighter, Tom Egan. The two became close friends and began training mixed martial arts (MMA) together.
One year after he began training, McGregor made his MMA debut in Dublin, Ireland. He won with a TKO in the first round. That was enough to catch the attention of some MMA trainers at the fight, who were quick to sign him.
He’s Only Lost Four Fights
Yes, you read that correctly. Over Conor McGregor’s entire UFC career he’s only ever lost four fights. He won his first two fights with a TKO but suffered his first loss in 2008 against Artemij Sitenkov. McGregor lost again in 2010 to Joseph Duffy after only 38 seconds in the ring.
That embarrassing loss led McGregor to go on a 15 fight win streak from 2011-2016! Five years undefeated is like a century in UFC. Nate Diaz finally got to McGregor in March 2016, but in a rematch in August the same year, McGregor came out on top.
His Girlfriend Tames The Beast Inside Conor
They say behind every great man is a great woman, but by the sounds of his, McGregor’s long-term girlfriend Dee Devlin should have a spotlight all her out. The two met in a nightclub in Dublin in 2008, long before he ever found fame. She has stood by his side, helping with training and meal preparation so he can be a star. The two are still together and have one child, Conor Jr.
McGregor’s friends say that Dee is the only one who can keep him in line. UFC boss Dana White even went so far as to say that Dee “tames the beast.”
He Knows How To Spend His Money
McGregor didn’t grow up with much, but now that he’s making millions, he isn’t shy about spending it. One of his favorite things to buy is fancy cars. Some describe his car collection as a “fleet.” His most prized possession is his Lamborghini Huracan Avio painted in Irish green.
Some of his other lavish purchases include a $1000 pair of crocodile skin loafers and a half-million dollar custom Rolex watch. Don’t forget about his suits. McGregor loves to dress nice and each of his suits are custom-made and cost between $4,000-$10,000.
Dana White Absolutely Loves Him
Dana White has been president of the UFC since 2001 and has single-handedly built it up to be a billion-dollar brand. Much like McGregor, White isn’t afraid to say what’s on his mind and even his own mother called him “egotistical, self-centered, and arrogant.” So, of course, White adores his top Irish UFC fighter.
He has said that “there is nobody else like” McGregor and that he is “a dream” for the owner of the UFC. White has even gone so far as to compare McGregor to Muhammad Ali because he’s revitalized interest in UFC.
The Mayweather Fight Changed Everything
McGregor was a huge figure in UFC circles for years but he gained worldwide fame in 2017 when he challenged boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. to a fight. McGregor had maintained his interest in boxing that he’d had since childhood and in 2016 began exploring the idea of doing a “money fight” against Mayweather.
In 2017, Mayweather came out of retirement to fight McGregor. He ended up defeating McGregor in the 10th round with a TKO and landed his 50th win. McGregor was guaranteed $30 million but later revealed he made closer to $100 million. That’s a lot of money just for losing.
He’s Got An Ongoing Feud
McGregor is no rookie when it comes to controversy, but since 2018, he’s landed in hot water thanks to an ongoing feud with another fighter. In April 2018, Khabib Nurmagomedov exchanged words with Artem Lobov, who is in McGregor’s inner circle. Two days later, McGregor tried to confront Khabib by throwing a metal dolly at a bus window.
Since McGregor fled the scene, he was served with an arrest warrant on assault and criminal mischief. He ended up pleading no contest and attended anger management classes, but that wouldn’t be the last of his incidents with Khabib.
The Feud Has Gone Too Far
Months later in October 2018, the Khabib-McGregor feud was reignited. Following UFC 229, Khabib jumped out of the cage and charged at one of McGregor’s training partners. The action ended up starting a brawl that, of course, McGregor quickly jumped into.
The brawl was the final straw and NSAC filed a formal complaint against both Khabib and McGregor. Both ended up being suspended and McGregor won’t be eligible to fight until April 6, 2019.
He’s The UFC Pay Per View King
McGregor might be the face of the UFC thanks to his big personality, but he also draws in millions of dollars. He has brought in more viewers to fights than any athlete in the organization’s history! He holds the top spot for the highest gate (a casual $17.7 million) in UFC history for his fight against lightweight Eddie Alvarez.
McGregor also holds the record for the two highest pay per view buys in UFC history. The top one, UFC 202, had a buy rate of 1,650,000. It just happened to be the rematch that McGregor won against Nate Diaz, who had previously snapped his win streak.
He Stays Loyal To His Team
The first trainer that McGregor began working with at the start of his MMA career was John Kavanagh. After multiple title wins, McGregor still trains with Kavanagh to his day. He has kept the same group of friends and trainers with him that helped him come up through the ranks.
Many of these people were the ones who stood by his side when he decided to go pro. They’re also the ones who stood by his side when he was injured in 2013 and kept out of the ring for more than ten months.
He’s A Businessman
Fighting isn’t the only thing McGregor is good at. He’s started two successful businesses since rising to fame. Just before the Mayweather fight, McGregor announced a partnership with custom clothier David August. The brand would provide “modern men’s suits to millennials.”
In 2018, McGregor also launched Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey. He said he worked on perfecting the whiskey for over three years. The whiskey was so successful that some stores like Tesco have to limit customers to two bottles per visit.
He’s An Anti-Bullying Advocate
Maybe it was the traumatic experience he had as a child, or maybe becoming a father himself changed his point of view, but today McGregor is a strong anti-bullying advocate. He lends his name and face to anti-bullying campaigns around the world. McGregor will even travel to schools and local youth centers to talk about bullying.
That doesn’t mean he’s a saint. Many people have accused him of being hypocritical as McGregor has been known to throw insults before fights that target his opponent’s personalities.
He Loves To Insult His Opponents
Conor McGregor might claim to be an anti-bullying advocate but he comes off as quite a bully when he’s getting ready to step in the ring. He’s got a huge reputation for talking smack to his opponents before a fight. There are times where you’ll even see him screaming in an opponents face during weigh-ins.
This isn’t just because he’s a fiery Irishman, it’s all part of his technique. McGregor believes there are three ways to beat a men: “you beat him verbally, you beat him mentally, and then finally, you beat him physically.”
He Doesn’t Believe In Superstitions
Like many athletes, a ton of UFC fighters follow several pre-fight rituals and superstitions. George St-Pierre famously tweaked his nipples before every fight. Conor McGregor is one of the few who won’t follow any ritual. The fighter believes that rituals and superstitions are just another form of fear.
While he says superstitions are for the weak, he did famously carry around one of his grandfather’s old hats to every fight until it was stolen from a suitcase. Since the hat was stolen though, he appears not to follow any pre-fight ritual other than yelling at his opponents.
One Of His Nicknames Is Mystic Mac
One of the reasons McGregor rose so quickly in UFC was his incredible ability to predict his fight outcomes. Sometimes he would even correctly predict which round he would win in and with what move! The strange ability led to him self-proclaiming the nickname “Mystic Mac.”
Of course, not all of his predictions have come true. For UFC Fight Night 59, McGregor predicted it would only take two minutes to take down Dennis Silver. While McGregor ended up winning, it took him closer to two rounds.
He’s As Irish As It Gets
Conor McGregor certainly isn’t afraid to show off his Irish pride. He’s the first UFC champion from Ireland and flaunts it any moment he can. He’ll often walk into the ring draped in an Irish flag, and many of his tattoos are related to Ireland.
Even McGregor’s walk-out song is incredibly Irish. He walks out to “Foggy Dew” by Sinead O’Connor & The Chieftains, which is a traditionally Irish-sounding song. His walkout song was almost “Shipping Up To Boston” by the Dropkick Murphy’s, which is also as Irish as it gets.
He’s Had To Fight Through Injuries
Winning 21 fights doesn’t mean you get to walk away without any injury. Like many fighters, McGregor has been left beaten and bruised. One of his worst injuries came early on in his career. Six months after making his UFC debut, McGregor defeated Max Holloway with a unanimous decision.
After the fight, it was revealed that McGregor has torn his ACL and would require surgery. The injury took him out for ten months and many questioned if he’d even be able to return to UFC. He made a full recovery and 11 months later, returned to win his comeback fight against Diego Brandão.
The McGregor Family Are Pretty Scrappy Too
It’s not just Conor who has a fighting soul. According to his father, they are a family “full of outlaws” and that’s the reason why his son has “fighting blood.” It might actually be true, since Conor’s sister is a bodybuilder too.
He might be a fighter but his mother Margaret still calls him a “mummy’s boy.” That’s probably because McGregor loves to give back to his family. Along with treating himself to expensive gifts, he also loves to spoil his sisters and parents.