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Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Rise of The Notorious Conor McGregor

Irish fighter out to shock the world

Conor McGregor poses on the scales
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Conor McGregor

Nickname The Notorious
MMA record
 21 wins (18 KOs), 3 losses (0 KOs)
Boxing record
 Debut
Age 29
Height 5ft 9in/175cm
Reach 74in/188cm
Stance Southpaw
Weight in last fight 154lbs (v E Alvarez 12/11/2016)
Heaviest weight 168lbs (v N Diaz 20/08/2016)

The rise and rise of Conor McGregor has been nothing less than meteoric. 

Just four-and-a-half years ago, McGregor was living on social welfare in Crumlin, Dublin struggling to convince his parents that he could ever have a serious career as a fighter.

In Las Vegas last November he knocked out UFC 155lb champion Eddie Alvarez to become the organisation's first two-weight world champion and establish himself as the biggest superstar in mixed martial arts history. 

Unlikely as it seems to many people, if he can find a way to beat Floyd Mayweather on Saturday night McGregor will become the biggest and most marketable sports personality in the entire world. One win will change combat sports history.

His biggest problem, of course, is that he is taking on Mayweather at his own game. If the fight was taking place by MMA rules there is no doubt McGregor would win easily, but in a boxing match against the greatest boxer in a generation, he is at an obvious disadvantage. 

However, if there is one man who could possibly bridge that seemingly impossible gap it is McGregor. Such is his confidence and charisma, he has been the subject of the majority of bets placed on the fight as fans across the world sense the most improbable of upsets.

This seems laughable to the boxing community, but while he may be making his boxing debut, it's not true that he has no experience of the sweet science. 

McGregor first started training boxing as an 11 year old at the Crumlin Boxing Club. He was considered an excellent student and stayed at the club until he was 17 when he took on an apprenticeship as a plumber.

But despite protests from his family he soon dropped the spanner to concentrate on fighting, and joined the SBG MMA gym under the tutelage of head coach John Kavanagh and boxing coach Owen Roddy, who remain his coaches to this day.

McGregor soon started competing, and eventually became the first man to win Cage Warriors Fighting Championship titles at two different weights. 

Fame and fortune still eluded him, until UFC president Dana White travelled to Ireland to receive an award from Trinity College Dublin, and was inundated with people urging him to sign McGregor. Soon after, White flew McGregor to Las Vegas and changed his life forever.

Six wins (including five KOs) eventually earned him a shot at the UFC's 145lb champion Jose Aldo, a Brazilian who had not lost a fight for ten years. McGregor knocked him out cold with a single punch 13 seconds into round one to win the title. 

He followed that with two fights at 170lbs against established fighter Nate Diaz. Although he lost the first when Diaz choked him out on the mat, McGregor won the second and the fact that he dropped Diaz several times with punches proved the power in his fists even against bigger men.

But while he walks the walk in combat, his biggest asset is that he can talk the talk outside the ring. As witnessed during their pantomime world promotional tour, not even Mayweather can compete with McGregor when it comes to hype, confidence and mind games.

Whether that will be enough to snatch the crown off Mayweather's head and make McGregor the king of sport remains to be seen, but it certainly makes for an interesting match-up.

Not even Mayweather can compete with McGregor when it comes to hype, confidence and mind games
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