I’ve enjoyed following the Conor McGregor journey since I first took notice of him when he arrived in Boston to raucous Irish-drenched cheers, walked into the Octogan to The Foggy Dew and proceeded to stomp his opponent and MMA veteran, Dennis Silva, into oblivion. McGregor moved different, hit different, and certainly had a way of sharing his message to the world that was different. He’s had many ups and downs since then with the weight of expectation of an entire Irish nation upon his broad shoulders while making millions along the way.
He’s now much more than a mere fighter. Conor McGregor is a businessman, an icon, perhaps even a legend.
In 2015, though, McGregor was still just another young man hungry for success. He knew poverty all too well, having spent his life to that point scrabbling to make a living via a combination of odd jobs and hope. He had what many don’t, though, a family and girlfriend who believed in him. He took that belief, turned his inner rage into fighting skill, grabbed the world by the throat, and made it his own.
Here he is facing a formidable Chad Mendes—a grappler of considerable skill and power who many thought would bring the McGregor train to a sudden and violent stop. The fight, though brief, was brutal as both men absorbed considerable punishment. McGregor was literally fighting for the life he wanted. This was Conor McGregor at his very best—bloodied yet defiant. He would not be defeated. By sheer force of will, he refused to allow his dream to be over.
In the end, he stood victorious, overcome by emotion as his girlfriend and family shared in his tears of amazed gratitude. Most who come from where Conor did never escape.
HE DID. This is the night the McGregor legend truly captured the world’s attention. Since then he has suffered defeats, enjoyed victories, become a father, and created a global business that has made him among the richest athletes in the world.
Not too bad for a poor kid from the hard-fisted outskirts of Dublin, yeah?