This week we will be taking a look at Irish MMA sensation “The Notorious” Conor McGregor.
It’s funny how quickly things can turn around in the fight game. Irish MMA had looked to be dead on its feet after the debacle with John Ferguson’s Cage Contender promotion (Fighters were not being paid for weeks and/or months, if at all) and there was generally a bad feeling around MMA in the country at the time, as Cage Contender was the biggest and best promotion in the country, and to see it go down the pan did not bode very well for MMA in Ireland. But a Hero was waiting in the wings, Conor McGregor, who at the time was the reigning Cage Warriors Featherweight Champion, was scheduled to fight Ivan Buchinger for the vacant featherweight Title. If Conor won the bout, it would have made him the first person in world MMA to be champion in two different weight classes simultaneously, there was a lot on the line for the Dublin native. Mcgregor put on a clinic and K.O’d Buchinger at 3:40 of the very first round, making “The Notorious” the two division champ. This was the Knockout heard around the world, because Joe Rogan, the UFC colour commentator heard about Conor’s exploits and started getting the Irishman some international exposure. It wasn’t long before the UFC came knocking, and a bout was set up between McGregor and Marcus “The Bama Beast” Brimage, much to the delight of Irish MMA fans, who knew all about their hero’s potential when everyone else was asking “who the hell is Conor McGregor, and why all the hype about him”.Marcus Brimage is no joke, and had, at the time, won three fights on the trot inside the UFC Octagon. Conor disposed of him easily at 1:07 of the very first round. This was the turning point for Irish MMA. For many people all it took to restore their faith in Irish MMA was to see their fellow countryman get his hand raised inside the Octagon. It was just one fight for Conor, but the importance of that fight for Irish MMA was immesurable. Mcgregor fought again in the Octagon in August of this year, against Max Holloway, picking up a unanimous decision victory, but injuring his knee in the process. McGregor is now 2-0 in the UFC, and is looking to start fighting top 10 opponents upon his return, sometime in 2014, and this time, it won’t just be the Irish MMA community who look forward to seeing “The Notorious” perform, the Worldwide MMA community awaits with baited breath.
Conor is a BJJ purple belt fighting out of Straight Blast Gym Ireland. His style of fighting makes him one of the most exciting fighters in the world at the minute. He is not afraid to use what could only be described as “experimental” techniques inside the cage, when many other fighters would play it safe, Conor throws a bit of Capoeira into the mix, just because he can, and because he is genuinely not afraid. He is, by his own admission, a devoted student of the martial arts, declaring that many of the techniques he practices come from reading obscure martial arts texts, or watching hours of internet footage. All of this makes for a supremely dangerous opponent in the cage. But our Conor is not as two dimensional as that, he is also an extremely fashion forward individual, with a look that could be viewed as a cross between a London high street Gent and a Caveman. He sports the must have fashion accessory of the moment: a massive beard, which is normally accompanied by a bow tie, and a tweed suit, resulting in a look which no doubt confuses many of his opponents, but strangely absolutely suits him. McGregor at some point in his life must have taken a bite out of the Blarney stone, because he could talk the paint off the walls, sometimes to his detriment, recently branding longtime UFC stalwart Diego Sanchez a “Braindead stuttering fool”. Conor lets his hands do the talking inside the Octagon though, and it is for this that we know and love him. In 2011, I had the pleasure of watching “the Notorious” perform in Letterkenny. He was to face off against Paddy Doherty in a lightweight showdown. It was to be a very early night for poor Paddy, as McGregor put him away at only 4 seconds into the very first round, I was instantly a fan, and went up to him in the lobby of the hotel to congratulate him, and i’m happy to say he was an absolute gentleman. I know I speak for all Irish MMA fans in wishing him a speedy recovery from his knee troubles. Hopefully we see anothe 4 second K.O in the new year.
Until next week,