Perhaps no nickname has ever been more well earned than ‘The Notorious’. Conor McGregor has grown into one of the most recognisable athletes on the planet, fighting his way to the top of two divisions in the UFC simultaneously (something nobody has ever done, before or since), challenging the greatest boxer ever and also finding himself in trouble on more than one occasion. The poster-boy of the UFC took to Twitter to announce that he was retiring from MMA and as such, we’ve taken a look back at some of the highs and lows of his career to date.
HIGH: Beating Jose Aldo
Where else could we start? With the unification of the lightweight division on the line, Conor didn’t mess about. Aldo made an ill-advised lunge 13 seconds into the fight and the famous McGregor left-hand caught him flush on the chin. Goodnight, Jose.
LOW: The Brooklyn bus attack
After a media day to promote UFC 223, Conor McGregor and a group of friends proceeded to cause a great deal of disruption, climaxing with the Irishman throwing a number of items at a bus full of fighters, injuring Michael Chiesa badly enough to force a withdrawal from his fight. McGregor was in the building to confront long-time rival Khabib Nurmagomedov. He ended up being charged with a count of disorderly conduct and was ordered to perform five days of community service and attend anger management classes.
HIGH: Beating Eddie Alvarez to become a two-weight champion
Less than a year on from winning his first UFC belt outright, McGregor had another. Beating Alvarez by TKO in the second round, McGregor made UFC history by becoming the first person to hold belts at two weights simultaneously.
LOW: Losing to Nate Diaz
McGregor had been a part of the UFC for three years, and was something of an unstoppable force. That was until he ran into Nate Diaz. A strong first round led many to think that the then 28-year-old was on his way to another victory, but early in the second round Diaz had McGregor on the canvas – and in trouble. A rear-naked choke was too much for Conor, who tapped out for his first UFC defeat.
HIGH: Beating Nate Diaz
The rematch was an inevitability. A much tighter contest, McGregor fought cautiously, going through five rounds for the first time in his MMA career. A split decision went in favour of McGregor, which raised the eyebrows of many punters. That said, no Diaz-McGregor: The Decider has been scheduled as of yet…
LOW: Loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov
At UFC 229, McGregor took on the undefeated Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, the man who he’d tried to attack at UFC 223. After a build-up filled with bad blood, Khabib dominated the Irishman and ultimately beat him by submission. That wasn’t the end of the story though as after the fight, Nurmagomedov climbed out of the octagon and charged toward McGregor’s cornerman Dillon Danis. A huge brawl broke out, with two of Khabib’s friends attacking McGregor inside the octagon.
HIGH: Welcome to the big leagues
After making a name for himself as a knockout specialist in the UK, the UFC gave McGregor his shot at the big leagues in 2013. Fighting Brimage in Stockholm on an undercard, McGregor played to the crowd in a first-round TKO (punches) win. He had announced himself to the world.
LOW: Homophobia scandal
McGregor was, once again, criticised when he was overheard referring to Andre Fili as a “f****” after the American defeated his good friend Artem Lobov at UFC Gdansk. In a rare moment of sincerity, McGregor did apologise for his comments, saying: “I’m human; I slip up, I say stupid things every damn day. All I can (do) is hold my hand up and apologise if anyone was offended.”
HIGH: Getting a fight with Floyd Mayweather
McGregor hit the jackpot when it was announced that he would be fighting Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match. The fight reportedly earned the Irishman something in the region of $100m.
LOW: Losing said fight to Floyd Mayweather
As a spectacle, the fight wasn’t great. Unsurprising really as arguably the best boxer ever was facing a man in his first match! Mayweather dominated the fight, ultimately winning via TKO in round 10.