Notorious by his own admittance, 2017 has definitely been the year of Conor McGregor! From relative obscurity to global superstardom makes McGregor a fighter to his very core, embodying a will that is keen to struggle against the odds and achieve everything he wishes by punching up and punching forward.
Since his debut in 2008 at age 21, McGregor has become no less than the master of MMA, overpowering most opponents in the octagon. He has fought and won across three different weight divisions, and he defeated José Aldo for the Featherweight UFC title in 2015, winning in an amazing 13 seconds to clinch the belt!
McGregor's feats did not stop there, however, and he went on to fight for the UFC Lightweight title and triumphed. His victory meant that he became the first MMA champion to hold titles in two separate weight divisions at the same time, going on to achieve the status of being the highest MMA fighter in terms of pay-per-views draws (the main event in four of the top six).
Conor's "Notorious" fame became infamy when his intense rivalry with retired boxing champion Floyd Mayweather began. McGregor made jibes about fighting Mayweather throughout his career and obtained a boxing license from the California State Athletic Commission. Mayweather came out of retirement for the bout - touted as the most expensive in history - with Mayweather winning by TKO in Round 10. Although he lost, Conor McGregor earned a guaranteed $30 million out of the fight, greatly increasing his fortune. What about the champion's life before UFC and Mayweather, here is a look at his beginnings.
15 Plumber McGregor?
Conor was born to humble beginnings, born in a town called Crumlin, near Dublin, Ireland, so to a young, working-class kid from a poor background, opportunities can seem like they are limited. When he moved to a new village at 16, he still kept up the boxing that he had begun since the age of 12, but in order to ensure some kind of living, after finishing school, McGregor took up a plumbing apprenticeship. So, as history and fate are often very fickle things, there could have been a world that wouldn't see a cocky, confident and handsome Conor McGregor in Rolls-Royce cars and having millions of dollars but instead driving around in a van wearing overalls! Although quite a decent living can be made from plumbing, it's not a millionaire fighter's earnings.
14 He Used To Get Bullied
Conor McGregor is not a very big guy, so as a kid that small stature definitely showed itself and things like that could make people into an easy target in the playground. For that reason, Conor as a kid became the subject of bullying, but the small stature he had made him a target and so appealing to bullies was something that did not deter Conor and probably empowered him to do something. Perhaps the fact that bullies went after Conor drove him to begin learning how to fight from a young age; it is odd sometimes how some things that are usually thought of as a negative can create a positive outcome. Soon Conor probably was able to the bullies a thing or two, and it helped the confidence he shows so easily today.
13 Footballer McGregor?
When it comes to athletes, they are usually multi-talented when it comes to a variety of other sports, such as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal being extremely talented soccer players, Nadal even had to make a choice between choosing a soccer or tennis career as a teenager. It seems that Conor McGregor had a talent for this sport too, which many boys play in Europe and have quite a decent talent level at playing. When McGregor started his secondary school (Junior High) in Ireland, he began playing for Lourdes Celtic Football Club. So if his skills as a fighter transferred to scrappiness on the soccer pitch, he might have had a fairly successful soccer career playing at club level and for Ireland? It may have been worth a pitch at least!
12 One Of His Earliest Trainers Was A Woman
McGregor has shown himself to dabble outside of the area that people expect him to by dueling Floyd Mayweather this year, and it gained him more wealth and popularity. When he began his training as a fighter, he would head down to his local gym to hone the skills that would eventually lead to Conor becoming so decorated as a UFC Champion. However, in his early days at the gym, while he was found regularly sparring with Aisling Daly, whom he remains friends with to this day. At the time, Daly was more experienced than him in martial arts and could often get the better of McGregor during grappling. When Daly originally sparred with Conor, it was to tone down some of his intensity, and Daly recalls fondly how he did not act in contempt of her or treated her like she was delicate.
11 Boxer McGregor?
Earlier this year, the bout between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather in June became the sixth highest viewed and bought Pay-Per-View event in history, earning Mayweather $100 million. When the much-hyped brawl got underway, the endurance of McGregor and his ability to slug it out with one of boxing's greatest stars surprised numerous people, lasting until the 10th round, until the referee called a TKO. Although the UFC that Conor calls home mixes various fighting styles (hence the name MMA, Mixed Martial Arts), so even though he lacks the focused training of boxing, he incorporates it into his fighting style. Also, McGregor joined a boxing gym at the age of 12 and kept it up until he began his Mixed Martial Arts career, so as he managed to make a success in UFC, then surely boxing could have made quite a good life as a boxer?
10 He Knew He Was Going To Be Rich
Conor McGregor's worth is now estimated to be $109 million, and at 29, he still has a lot of work ahead of him, and he has no intention of stopping anytime soon. There are even rumors of him going head to head with Oscar de la Hoya, an exchange of words back-and-forth has already begun between the retired boxer and McGregor. A look at McGregor's social media, notably Instagram is full to the brim with pictures and videos that show his lavish lifestyle off to his many fans. According to reports, McGregor always had confidence that he would be wealthy and achieve greatness, and he said so to his parents too. Allegedly, he told his parents: "I'm going to be a multi-millionaire and nothing is going to stop me, everyone is going to know my name!" He even claimed that he would lead Ireland out of the recession it was in at the time.
9 He Would Train Six Hours A Day
Making it big in any industry takes hard work and dedication. It means dragging yourself out of bed on a cold, wet and dark morning to train and work when you (and anyone else) would rather pull the covers over and go back to sleep. However, that drive eventually pays off as it did for Conor McGregor and his days down the gym training were the main factor in what got him to the point he is at today. McGregor would dedicate six hours of training in Mixed Martial Arts a day in his small gym on the outskirts of Dublin, a level of dedication that worked to get him the future that he desired. Some people get their fame through luck, but most, like McGregor, achieve it through hard work.
8 Conor Was On Welfare
Conor McGregor grew up in a relatively working-class environment in Ireland, so in such a place decisions that seem like they are not life-changing can alter a poor person's destiny completely. While training as a plumber, it was only on an apprenticeship basis, and when he started his career as an amateur UFC fighter, aged 17, he might not necessarily have had the will or the drive at the time to push himself to achieve what he did, by turning professional at 18. Pursuing careers can take a while and so it means spending thankless times working for nothing, so Conor needed some cash at the time he was an amateur and received a government welfare check. So McGregor literally fought his way to the top in more ways than one.
7 Dee Devlin
For many people, fame goes to their heads, and they indulge in all sorts of debauched and decadent behaviors. Often for male sporting stars or celebrities such things include womanizing, as well as drinking and taking drugs, it is how a number of sports stars have ruined their promising careers. Not Conor McGregor though, the UFC champ has been together with his current girlfriend Dee Devlin for over nine years and they also currently have one child together, named Conor Junior. McGregor credits Devlin being by his side as something that keeps his head out of the clouds and one of the most popular images of him is where he is being comforted by an emotional Dee, draped in the triple-striped flag of Ireland.
6 He Was An Errand Boy For Sandwiches
When young people commence something like an apprenticeship at the start of their career, the idea is that they are taken under an experienced tradesperson's wing. Beneath the guidance of that master – this is not concerning Jedi, though – an apprentice seeks to gain the skills of a trade, learning at the hands of their trainers. Although in reality, it is sometimes much farther away than that, an apprentice can often get used to run pointless errands and act as a low-paid servant that tradespeople can get cheaper work from. According to McGregor's time as an apprentice plumber, running annoying errands seemed to be the sum of all of his work duties. His apprenticeship consisted of waiting by the side of a highway at 6 am and involved collecting everyone else's sandwiches!
5 His Parents Were Skeptical Of His Ambitions
Parents always hope for the best for their child and providing that preparation for life often comes with opposing ideas as to what is best to teach kids. Parents wish for them to be happy and pursue whatever dreams that they want to, although they always want what is best for their kids and sometimes that means indulging them with a sour and bitter old reality check. For example, a very tall person is too tall to be an astronaut, so a parent may tell their kid that so they work in physics or something instead. However, where Conor McGregor was concerned, he had a talent for fighting and nurtured it when he trained as a boxer, this dream was attainable for him. Although his parents did not seem to think so and encouraged him to pursue a trade – his dad especially – and not focus entirely on becoming a fighter, but it fell on deaf ears, and Conor soon abandoned getting a trade behind him.
4 Conor Was Never Homeless
Everyone loves an underdog that makes it big against all the odds stacked against them. The tale of rags to riches is what made the Rocky movie so popular, especially as Sylvester Stallone was poorer than Rocky Balboa was but some of the enthusiasm for the idea of someone's hero getting to the top from the bottom gets exaggerated. So invested are some of the fan people of McGregor that a rumor surfaced that before he was famous and broke into professional UFC, he became homeless. The fact is that this rumor is untrue, Conor was unemployed before he turned pro, but like many people of his age at the time, he lived in his parents' house with his folks and was on welfare while an amateur.
3 One Defeat At the Start Of His Career Nearly Stopped Him Competing
Dedication is everything, and that often needs to get coupled with self-belief, especially when beginning a career as a fighter because it is essential to make a mark. Although sometimes, self-belief takes a huge hit and it can be hard to get it back to where it was again, and the same thing happened to Conor McGregor. Only three fights into his career and Conor McGregor suffered an embarrassing defeat losing to an opponent in less than a minute. He was so ashamed that he became reclusive and had to rely on his mother to talk him round and head back into the octagon, good for him that he did. Because otherwise, it would be highly unlikely that he would be worth the millions of dollars that he is worth today.
2 'The Secret'
No, it is not some random spiritual nonsense, but instead, it is the title of a DVD and book that became a worldwide bestseller, which has now resulted in selling over 20 million copies worldwide and various sequels. The key to The Secret (written by former Australian TV producer, Rhonda Bryne) defines four things necessary for success. 1. Determine What You Want, 2. Ask the Universe for It, 3. Behave As If You Already Have What You Are Asking For, 4. Be Open To Receive What the Universe Sends You. When Conor's older sister Erin saw her brother's lack of direction, she lent him the DVD of The Secret to watch, and at first, he did not respond to it, though he finally took the message on board.
1 Conor Is Part Of A Sporting Family
It is often said that things run in families and it is often true that siblings share genetic traits that convert into similar interests. Whether these traits are increased by growing up together is also a possibility, but when it came to the McGregors, there did seem to be a certain sporting streak in that family. Conor is the youngest of three children, and his two older sisters influenced his life greatly (Erin introducing him to The Secret DVD). Erin was also athletically built too and trained and competed as a professional weightlifter and as a younger man, before his professional career, Conor actively encouraged his sister to pursue professional weightlifting contests in Dublin. It is also likely that having an older sister as a professional athlete influenced his decision to compete in UFC.