Photo courtesy / Wikimedia Commons
When people heard the words “The Notorious” eight years ago, they might think of one of the greatest rappers of all time, The Notorious B.I.G. Yet, “The Notorious” has developed a different image in the past few years. Conor “The Notorious” McGregor has become one of the most famous and successful professional athletes in history and had quite the ride to the top of the sports world.
McGregor was born on July 14, 1988, in Dublin, Ireland. His father, Tony, and mother, Margaret, had three children: Aoife, Erin, and, of course, Conor. McGregor started training in boxing at the age of 12, and the rest is history.
He made his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut on March 8, 2008, versus Gary Morris. McGregor was able to get the victory via technical knockout (TKO) in the second round. Fighting four times in 2008, McGregor headed into 2009 with a 3-1 record. Along with a busy year in the octagon, McGregor also met his longtime girlfriend, Dee Devlin, sometime in 2008.
McGregor’s next major fight came on Feb. 11, 2011, where he defeated Hugh Brady in the first round via knockout (KO). This 2011 win would spark an incredible 15-fight win streak, stretching from 2011 to 2016. McGregor was able to capture his first major title on July 10, 2015, versus Chad Mendes. Fighting in the lightweight division, he was able to KO/TKO Mendes in the 4:57 minute of the second round, becoming the featherweight champion of the world.
After winning the belt, he had to defend it on Dec. 11, 2015 versus Jose Aldo. Aldo at the time had not lost a fight in 10 years, and many believed McGregor did not stand a chance against such a prolific fighter. Yet only 13 seconds into the first round, McGregor was able to hit Aldo with a left hand, putting him to sleep. This fight went down as one of the greatest knockouts in UFC history, showing that McGregor was the real deal.
McGregor hit a bump in the road in his first fight versus Nate Diaz on March 4, 2016. In the fight, the two exchanged major blows and seemed to be nearly neck and neck. Yet, 4:12 in the second round, Diaz was able to choke McGregor out, handing him his first loss since 2010.
A rematch developed quickly, and the two were in the same octagon again on August 19, 2016, for McGregor vs. Diaz 2. This fight was an absolute dog fight, going the whole five rounds. In the decision, McGregor won by majority 48-47, 47-47, 48-47. Though many thought the fight could have gone either way, McGregor was back on top, and was able to bounce back after a tough loss.
Though all of his past wins were impressive, McGregor was yet to reach the peak of his career so far. This would all change after his Eddie Alvarez fight on November 11, 2016. The fight was extremely hyped up, due to the fact that if McGregor won, he would be the champ in both the featherweight and lightweight division. On the day of the fight, McGregor was dominant in the octagon. Though it did not end in the first round, McGregor controlled the fight and was able to land strikes at queue. With 3:04 left in the second round, the Notorious was able to land four devastating punches that knocked Alvarez out. McGregor made history, becoming the first UFC fighter to hold two belts at the same time. The “Champ Champ” was on top of the sports world.
After taking a little time to enjoy such a great feat, McGregor vs. Mayweather rumors began to cook up in the sports world. Floyd Mayweather, a professional boxer with a record of 50-0, is to many the greatest boxer in history. This would mean that McGregor would have to give up all martial arts and learn how to just box. The Notorious agreed to the fight, which was set for Aug. 26, 2017. The months before the fight were strictly advertising and press conferences. The battle between boxing’s king and the UFC’s king was shaping up to be the most hyped fight in history. On the night of the fight, an estimated 50 million people watched on TV in the US alone (ESPN). In the ring, McGregor seemed to start the fight very strong, being able to keep up with the greatest boxer of all time. Yet, Mayweather’s experience showed in later rounds, where he started to dominate. Mayweather was able to knock McGregor out in the tenth round. Though McGregor was able to keep up in a sport he had just learned, this seemed to be the start of the fall for McGregor.
On April 5, 2018, at the Barclay’s Center, McGregor was videoed throwing a steel dolly through a bus window, injuring many on the bus. His target was UFC’s lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who was in the bus, as well as other fighters in Khabib’s crew. McGregor was possibly facing 12 criminal charges, which included two counts of felony criminal mischief. Yet, he appeared in front of a judge, pleading guilty to a single violation of disorderly conduct. He was able to reach a plea agreement to drop all felony charges and avoid prison time.
In the end, after all the legal trouble, McGregor was able to appear in the octagon on Oct. 6, 2018. In the title fight, Khabib was dominant, showing that his wrestling and ground game was superior to McGregor’s striking. After a brutal beating, Khabib ended the fight with 3:03 left in the fourth round, via submission. Right after McGregor tapped, Khabib jumped out the octagon into the crowd, throwing kicks and punches at McgGregor’s teammate Dillon Danis. A crazy brawl inside the octagon and in the crowd broke out, where both fighters threw punches with opposing teammates. Both fighters were suspended from the UFC for six months.
Many incidents happened in the aftermath of this loss. Some include McGregor smashing a man’s cellphone outside a Miami club after the man tried to film him. Also, McGregor got in trouble for punching an older man in a pub in Dublin. After all the altercations, McGregor was at the lowest of lows in his career. Many thought he would never fight in the UFC again. They proved to be right: on March 26, 2019, McGregor retired from the UFC. The Notorious era was over.
Yet, on Nov. 28 of last year, the world found out that The Notorious would be back. A Jan. 18 fight was announced between McGregor and UFC veteran Donald Cerrone, who held a 36-13 record before the fight. Many are used to McGregor’s brutal trash talk before fights, yet this time around, it was much different. He had a much humbler attitude, seeming to have changed his mentality in his time off. The fans and media seemed to doubt McGregor in his return, due to the excessive time away from the octagon. On the night of the fight, McGregor didn’t skip a beat, knocking out Cerrone 40 seconds into the first round, and making his professional record 22-4. The Notorious is officially back.
Through ups and downs, he was able to overcome adversity and climb back up the mountain of greatness in the sports world. Now, since we know that McGregor is back to being active again, saying that he would like to fight three times in 2020, what’s next for the Irish superstar? For now, we will have to wait in excitement, knowing that the biggest fighter in the world is back, and possibly better than ever.