The bout, which takes place on Saturday in Las Vegas, is set to net both men close to $100million, a figure which is record-breaking for a professional boxing debut.
The Irishman has been crushing records in combat sports at a devastating speed since first entering the limelight three years ago. Sporting the skill set of a warrior, the dress sense of a pimp, the confidence of a giant and the trash talk of a WWE heel, it’s no surprise that his name is elevating in popularity with astronomical velocity.
Having accomplished so much in his short career so far in the world of MMA, from cheekily asking for the knockout of the night bonus in his first ever UFC interview, to being the first man in UFC history to hold titles in two weight divisions simultaneously, he is no stranger to setting a towering standard for his competition.
There is no shortage of memorable moments from the charismatic Crumlin native, who’s performances inside the octagon, eccentric dress sense and poetic microphone skills have elevated the platform of UFC from a fairly moderate sport surviving mostly on the support of hardcore fight fans, to a global attraction with record-breaking pay-per-view buys competing with mainstream boxing shows. However, we have chosen to simply pick our top five iconic moments which have propelled the notorious one into household stardom.
1 Conor McGregor vs Marcus Brimage
McGregor made his UFC debut on 6th April 2013, against an aggressive opponent in Marcus Brimage. For many, this was the first time they saw the Irishman's unorthodox style of fighting.
The fight was exciting for as long as it lasted, in which he scored a first round knockout, something he had predicted in the pre-fight press conferences. What many people don't know is that the 'Notorious One' had nearly missed his flight to the fight in Sweden due to having to stop at the post office in order to claim his benefits as he was financially broke. After the fight, he decided to try his luck, and asked for the knockout of the night bonus from Dana White screaming "Dana, 60 G's baby!" into the microphone, which he won alongside his purse.
He had left Dublin on Friday with a net worth of €188.00 and returned a few days later with more money than he had ever seen before. A star was in the making.
2 Conor McGregor vs Jose Aldo
Since his debut in the UFC octagon, McGregor was extremely vocal about his mission to capture the featherweight title from the 10-year undefeated champion Jose Aldo. The plot thickened when McGregor, after knocking out Dennis Siver, leapt over the cage and into the crowd to confront the Brazilian champion who was in attendance.
This self promotion attracted a huge public demand for the two men to fight, and after several mishaps, an Aldo pullout, and a McGregor victory over Chad Mendes for the interim title, the fight took place on December 9th 2015. For the first time in history, the UFC organised a world tour to promote the fight, with the two men having to spend a week together travelling the world.
For McGregor this was a week of jesting and mind games, but for the Brazilian it was a frustrating week of trying not to rise to the heckles of the Irishman. The two finally met in the octagon, at which point the 'Notorious One' broke another record. Aldo stepped forward to throw the first strike of the night, overextending and walking into a devastating left hand from McGregor, awarding McGregor the fastest knockout in UFC title fight history at just 13 seconds of round one.
3 Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz 1
The contest between Conor and Stockton's Nate Diaz took place at UFC 196. Diaz was called upon after Rafael dos Anjos pulled out of the scheduled title fight with injury.
Diaz, who had called McGregor out after his previous victory, was a last minute replacement and stepped up to face the Irishman on a few weeks notice. Most devoted MMA fans are fully aware of who the Diaz brothers are, and the damage they could give and take in the octagon, but many new UFC fans had Diaz as an underdog who had no camp and only a small chance of defeating McGregor.
The fight took place at 170lbs, 25lbs more than McGregor's previous bouts. This seemed to show from early on as McGregor looked fatigued inside the first round, turning the bout into a slugfest and attempting to exchange with the bigger man. By the second round he seemed to have completely scrapped his gameplan and again began boxing Diaz, who showed no signs of fatigue or quitting.
McGregor, who is renowned for striking, then bizarrely shot for a takedown on Diaz, who is known for his strong grappling skills, and to the shock of many was submitted by Nate in the second round. This fight made the list of iconic moments, as, although it was a defeat, it showed the world a much more humble side of McGregor and answered the question as to whether or not a loss would derail the hype train. "No chance!"
4 Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz 2
The build up to the second fight began much like the first, with plenty of trash talk from both camps and intense press conferences which included the launching of water bottles, resulting in both teams being fined.
The fight itself was remarkable, pushing each fighter to the limit with McGregor knocking Diaz down multiple times in the early rounds and the Stockton native almost finishing a fatigued McGregor with strikes in the middle rounds.
The 'Notorious One' found a second wind in the final two rounds and showed courage in fighting and winning his first five round fight. The fight also showcased McGregor's takedown defence, as Diaz failed to take him down once inside the whole five rounds. Once again he proved doubters wrong, who claimed that he would gas out and that he was a two round fighter.
The trilogy date is yet to be set, but with each man having one win and a very lucrative opportunity to settle the score, it can't be too far in the horizon.
5 Conor McGregor vs Eddie Alvarez
After becoming the undisputed featherweight champion, McGregor decided to challenge for the lightweight title at 155lbs, initially scheduled for UFC 196 against Rafael dos Anjos, who had pulled out through injury and lost the title to Eddie Alvarez.
The bout took place in November 2016 and ended in a second round technical knockout from strikes by the Irishman. He became the first fighter in UFC history to hold two titles in different weigh categories simultaneously, creating an even larger queue of competitors challenging him to bouts.
It was later announced that McGregor and girlfriend Dee Devlin were expecting a child, and he stated that he would take some time off from the sport. McGregor has not competed in the octagon since, and as he sets to quadruple his net worth in his boxing debut, it is unknown whether he will return to the sport.
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