Conor Anthony McGregor (Irish: Conchúr Antóin Mac Gréagóir; born 14 July 1988) is an Irish professional mixed martial artist and boxer. He is a former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight and lightweight champion. As of 23 November 2020, he is ranked #12 in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings and as of 24 December 2020, he is #4 in the UFC lightweight rankings.
McGregor is a former Cage Warriors featherweight and lightweight champion. In 2015, at UFC 194, he defeated José Aldo for the UFC Featherweight Championship via knockout 13 seconds into the first round, which is the fastest victory in UFC title fight history. Upon defeating Eddie Alvarez for the UFC Lightweight Championship at UFC 205, McGregor became the first fighter in UFC history to hold titles in two weight divisions simultaneously.
In his debut boxing match, he was defeated by Floyd Mayweather Jr. He is the biggest pay-per-view (PPV) draw in MMA history, having headlined five out of the six highest-selling UFC pay-per-view events.His headline bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 drew 2.4 million PPV buys, the most ever for an MMA event.His boxing match with Mayweather drew 4.3 million PPV buys in North America, the second most in history.
Conor Anthony McGregor was born in Crumlin, Dublin on 14 July 1988, the son of Tony and Margaret McGregor.He was raised in Crumlin and attended a Gaelscoil and Gaelcholáiste at both primary and at secondary level in Coláiste de hÍde in Tallaght, where he also developed his passion for sport, playing football. In his youth, he played football for Lourdes Celtic Football Club. At the age of 12, McGregor also began boxing at Crumlin Boxing Club,as a way to defend himself against bullies and raise his confidence.
In 2006, McGregor moved with his family to Lucan, Dublin, attending Gaelcholáiste Coláiste Cois Life. Following that, he commenced a plumbing apprenticeship. While in Lucan, he met future UFC fighter Tom Egan and they soon started training mixed martial arts (MMA) together.
Amateur mixed martial arts career
On 17 February 2007, at the age of 18, McGregor made his mixed martial arts debut in an amateur fight against Kieran Campbell for the Irish Ring of Truth promotion in Dublin. He won via technical knockout (TKO) in the first round. Following the fight, he turned professional and was signed by the Irish Cage of Truth promotion. In 2008, McGregor began training at the Straight Blast Gym (SBG) in Dublin under John Kavanagh.
Professional mixed martial arts career
Early career (2008–2013)
On 9 March 2008, McGregor had his first professional MMA bout, as a lightweight, defeating Gary Morris with a second-round TKO. After McGregor won his second fight against Mo Taylor, he made his featherweight debut in a loss via kneebar against submission specialist Artemij Sitenkov. After a victory at featherweight in his next bout against Stephen Bailey, McGregor contemplated a different career path before his mother contacted his coach John Kavanagh and reinvigorated him to continue pursuing mixed martial arts.
McGregor then won his next fight, also at featherweight, against Connor Dillon, before moving back to lightweight for a fight against Joseph Duffy, in which he received his second professional loss after submitting to an arm-triangle choke. Following this, during 2011 and 2012, McGregor went on an eight-fight winning streak,during which he won both the CWFC Featherweight and Lightweight championships, making him the first European professional mixed martial artist to hold titles in two divisions simultaneously.
In February 2013, UFC president Dana White made a trip to Dublin, Ireland to receive a Gold Medal of Honorary Patronage from Trinity College and was inundated with requests to sign McGregor to the UFC. After a meeting with McGregor, and talking with UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, White offered him a contract days later.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (2013–2020)
In February 2013, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) announced that they had signed McGregor to a multi-fight contract. In joining, he became only the second fighter from Ireland to compete for the company, following fellow team member Tom Egan.
On 6 April 2013, McGregor made his UFC debut against Marcus Brimage at UFC on Fuel TV: Mousasi vs. Latifi. McGregor won the fight in round one. The win also earned McGregor his first “Knockout of the Night” award.
McGregor was expected to face Andy Ogle on 17 August 2013 at UFC Fight Night 26, but Ogle pulled out of the bout citing an injury and was replaced by Max Holloway. McGregor won the fight by unanimous decision (30–27, 30–27, and 30–26). Following the bout with Holloway, an MRI scan revealed that McGregor had torn his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during the bout and would require surgery, keeping him out of action for up to ten months.
McGregor was expected to face Cole Miller on 19 July 2014 at UFC Fight Night 46 in his comeback bout after recovering from his ACL injury.However, Miller pulled out of the bout citing a thumb injury and was replaced by Diego Brandão. McGregor fought Brandão in front of a loud, rowdy crowd of 9,500 at The O2 in his hometown of Dublin, Ireland. The fight was officially halted by referee Leon Roberts at 4:05 of the first round. The win earned McGregor his first “Performance of the Night” award.
Prior to his next bout, McGregor met with Lorenzo Fertitta and signed a new multi-fight contract with the UFC. McGregor next faced Dustin Poirier on 27 September 2014 at UFC 178. Despite McGregor landing 9 significant strikes to Poirier’s 10, he managed to secure a victory early on in the first round, by pressuring Poirier onto his back foot, before exploding with a left hook behind Poirier’s ear, forcing referee Herb Dean to step in. The finish officially came at 1:46 into the first round.This marked Poirier’s first UFC loss via KO/TKO, and earned McGregor his second straight “Performance of the Night” award.
McGregor faced Dennis Siver on 18 January 2015 at UFC Fight Night 59. McGregor won the fight via TKO in the second round. The victory also earned McGregor his third straight “Performance of the Night” award.
Interim Featherweight Championship bout
The highly anticipated bout with Aldo was announced on 30 January 2015, at the UFC 183 Q&A. McGregor declared that he was expected to face Aldo on 11 July 2015 at UFC 189 for the undisputed UFC Featherweight Championship, during the UFC’s annual International Fight Week. The fight took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The UFC, confident that the fight would exceed expectations, increased the promotional budget for the event, with company Dana White stating that “[the UFC] spent more money promoting Aldo–McGregor than any fight in UFC history.”
The fight against Aldo was announced on 30 January 2015, at the UFC 183 and both McGregor and Aldo embarked on a 12-day world tour, during which eight cities in five countries were visited, including Aldo’s home country of Brazil (Rio de Janeiro) and McGregor’s hometown of Dublin. The tour began in Rio de Janeiro on 20 March, and completed in Dublin on 31 March. However, on 23 June, it was reported that Aldo had suffered a rib fracture and had pulled out of the bout as a consequence.McGregor remained on the card and was rescheduled to face Chad Mendes for the Interim Featherweight Championship. The official attendance for the event, 16,019, broke the record in Nevada, while the gate of $7,200,000 broke the record for a mixed martial arts event in the United States. Prior to the fight, McGregor’s entrance song, “The Foggy Dew”, was sung live by Irish singer-songwriter Sinéad O’Connor. McGregor won the fight via TKO, winning the UFC Interim Featherweight Championship.
McGregor then took part in UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter, in which he coached against Urijah Faber. Faber’s team member Ryan Hall ended up winning the competition.
Featherweight Championship unification bout
On 10 August, it was announced that the event would take place on 12 December, and McGregor would face Aldo for the UFC Featherweight Championship. At the weigh-ins, both McGregor and Aldo achieved the weight limit of 145 pounds. McGregor won the fight in 13 seconds into the first round and he earned the “Performance of the Night” bonus.
First UFC loss
After emphatically dispatching Aldo, McGregor continued to express a desire to move up to the lightweight division and attempt to become the first UFC dual-weight champion. On 12 January 2016, the UFC announced that Conor McGregor would face Rafael dos Anjos for the UFC Lightweight Championship on 5 March at UFC 196 (then known as UFC 197). The event would be held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, in McGregor’s third consecutive headlining appearance at the venue.
On 23 February, it was announced that dos Anjos had withdrawn from the fight after breaking his foot. A variety of competitors at different weight classes were asked to step-in on short notice to face McGregor, including José Aldo, who refused the bout due to a “lack of time” to prepare for it, and former UFC Lightweight Champion and featherweight Frankie Edgar, who turned the fight down due to a groin injury. Instead, The Ultimate Fighter Season 5 winner, and former UFC Lightweight Championship challenger Nate Diaz stepped in to fight McGregor on 13 days’ notice. Initially assumed to be a lightweight contest, McGregor allowed the bout to be contested at 170-pounds, in the welterweight division, to avoid forcing Diaz to cut down to the 155-pound lightweight limit in such little time. On 24 February 2016, a press conference was held to help promote the new main event, with both men trading insults. At the Thursday pre-fight press conference on 3 March, McGregor and Diaz engaged in a brief scuffle during a face-off, after McGregor landed a strike on Diaz’s lead hand. The UFC 196 event, while failing to exceed the gate and attendance records of McGregor’s previous bout, provided respectable numbers, with an attendance of 14,898 and a total gate of $8.1 million. More significantly, the event procured a PPV buyrate of 1,317,000 buys, surpassing McGregor’s own personal record of 1,200,000 for UFC 194.
The fight began with McGregor shifting stances frequently, before looking to establish his signature left cross. After a McGregor combination in the first round, Diaz returned fire with two consecutive hooks, one a slap, a signature of Nate and his brother, Nick Diaz, termed the “Stockton Slap”. McGregor avoided Diaz’s jabs by slipping to his right, often before throwing his left overhand. The second round commenced with Diaz using his check right hook, attempting to keep the aggressive McGregor at distance. McGregor had success with his bodywork, but Diaz began to land combinations of his own. After a stiff one-two from Diaz, McGregor seemed fatigued and troubled by the shots. He attempted a double leg takedown, which Diaz successfully defended by sprawling. Diaz then threatened the guillotine choke, which forced McGregor onto his back after stopping McGregor from scrambling out of the position as he had during the bout with Chad Mendes at UFC 189. Diaz secured the mount, before firing off a volley of strikes from the top. In an effort to avoid the assault, McGregor gave up his back, and Diaz secured a rear naked choke. McGregor tapped to the submission at 4:12 into the second round, causing referee Herb Dean to intervene and stop the bout. Both competitors were awarded “Fight of the Night” bonuses, and McGregor received the highest disclosed purse of any fighter in the history of the company to that point, at $1,000,000. McGregor was critical of his own performance while praising Diaz, saying “I was inefficient with my energy. It was a battle of energy and he got the better of that.”
Rematch with Nate Diaz
A rematch with Diaz was scheduled for 9 July at UFC 200; however, on 19 April, the UFC announced that McGregor had been pulled from the event after failing to fulfil media obligations related to the fight.In turn, the fight with McGregor was rescheduled and took place the following month, contested again at welterweight, at UFC 202.McGregor won the rematch via majority decision (48–47, 47–47, and 48–47).The bout was once again awarded “Fight of the Night” honours.The event broke the record previously held by UFC 100 for the highest selling pay-per-view in UFC history, with 1,650,000 buys.
On 27 September, it was officially announced that McGregor’s next bout would be against Eddie Alvarez for the UFC Lightweight Championship on 12 November at UFC 205. McGregor defeated Alvarez by second-round technical knockout to win the UFC Lightweight Championship and become the first UFC fighter to hold titles in two different weight classes simultaneously.
Stripping of Featherweight Championship
On 26 November, due to his inactivity in the division, it was initially announced that McGregor had vacated the Featherweight Championship, therefore promoting José Aldo to undisputed champion.McGregor’s coach, however, confirmed further reports which stated that McGregor had actually been stripped of the title.
After winning the lightweight championship at UFC 205, McGregor announced he would take time off from the UFC to wait for the birth of his first child due in 2017. McGregor spent the majority of his public appearances in early-2017 campaigning for a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. After months of negotiations, the two finally came to terms on 14 June 2017 and announced the match to take place on 26 August.The match ultimately ended in the 10th round with a victory by TKO for Mayweather.
After the conclusion of UFC 223 on 7 April, McGregor was stripped of the Lightweight Championship due to inactivity.
On 3 August, it was announced that McGregor would return to the Octagon at UFC 229 to challenge Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC Lightweight Championship on 6 October.McGregor lost the fight in the fourth round via a submission.
On 26 March 2019, McGregor announced his retirement on social media. However, Dana White viewed this announcement as a ploy to secure an ownership stake in the company, with White later suggesting his retirement would not last and that he had been in regular contact with him and stated he would fight again in the future. McGregor had previously tweeted that he wanted a rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov and that he would see him in the Octagon.
After over a year away from the Octagon, McGregor faced Donald Cerrone in a welterweight bout on 18 January 2020 at UFC 246. He won the fight via technical knockout 40 seconds into the first round. This win earned him a Performance of the Night award. The win made McGregor the first UFC fighter to hold knockout finishes in the featherweight, lightweight, and welterweight divisions.
On 6 June 2020, McGregor announced on social media that he was retiring from fighting.
Despite talks of retirement, McGregor is officially signed to face Dustin Poirier in a rematch of their 2014 bout at UFC 257 on 23 January 2021.
Mixed martial arts fighting style
McGregor is known mostly as a striker and prefers to fight standing up, as opposed to on the ground. McGregor is left-handed and primarily fights out of the southpaw stance, but often switches to an orthodox stance. He will frequently try to be the aggressor in his bouts. McGregor’s boxing is typically considered his best skill, with the majority of his victories coming by way of knockout or technical-knockout via punches. Many pundits cite McGregor’s pull-back left-handed counter as his most dangerous strike.
McGregor will almost always engage in trash talk and “psychological warfare” against his opponents, which has led to comparisons with Muhammad Ali, whom McGregor cites as one of his early inspirations. After Ali died in June 2016, McGregor opined that “nobody will ever come close to [Ali’s] greatness”. McGregor has also cited Bruce Lee as an inspiration,and compared himself to Lee.