Conor McGregor's father remembers the moment his son came out of the womb with his fist clenched and the midwife remarked 'Conor will be a fighter'.
The midwife could not have been more right. The 27-year-old former Plumber was crowned as the UFC Interim Featherweight Champion last month, after a crushing second round victory over rival Chad Mendes. In less than two and a half years, Conor Mcgregor, aka"The Notorious", has gone from being an Irish rookie, to the 10th best pound-for-pound fighter on the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) circuit.
With a quick glance at McGregor and his shiny cars, sharp suits and glamorous lifestyle, it'd be easy to think that his passion for the sport is all about living the high life. But with a closer look at his rise to super-stardom, it's clear to see that is not the case. His career has been riddled with controversy down to his personality, but his rise to MMA fame has inspired people around the world. His journey and indescribable qualities have enabled him to capture peoples hearts, and that is why right now, the world can't get enough of him.
Despite his new found fame and multi-millionaire status, McGregor remains extremely humble. He recently said:"I never forget where I came from. I never, ever forget the hard times. I pinch myself because I am surrounded by luxury. But make no mistake - it's luxury built on sacrifice."
Those sacrifices began at an early age. Although his interest as a young boy was playing football, his first experience of watching MMA had him hooked. His passion for football soon faded, and he immediately began to pursue his interest in Mixed Martial Arts. His parents were initially unenthusiastic, but after constant nagging they eventually took Conor to the local boxing gym where his love of combat sports began to flourish. It was then his attitude towards the sport began to shine through.
“He wasn't anything special at boxing, but he did try hard, and once anyone tries hard you can make them special." His coach John Kavanagh managed just that. McGregor has been with Kavanagh ever since he began MMA at Crumlin Boxing Club, and his guidance has helped Conor to develop the skills to match his confidence, which is certainly not in short supply.
How"The Notorious" got his name
He recently spoke publicly about boxer Floyd Mayweather."I would dismantle him in seconds." That's a bold statement when you consider he's talking about an undefeated, five-division world champion, whose boxing career spans 19 years. But McGregor has no shortage of belief in himself and his ability.
That bravado combined with his love for the sport and the coaching of John Kavanagh saw McGregor train his way to a professional debut in 2008 at 'Cage of Truth 2'. He won with a second round TKO on that day, and soon fought his way to a 13 fight undefeated streak, with eleven ending in some form of knockout, nine of which came in the opening round of the fight.
It wasn't long before McGregor's potential was recognised and in February 2013, he signed a deal to fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. It may have been a step up for the Irishman, but true to form, his first fight ended in victory with another first round knockout over Marcus Brimmage. Since then, McGregor's career has taken off.
His career fight earnings now amount to well over $500,000, and in January this year the Irishman agreed a huge endorsement deal with Reebok. He even took to social media after signing the deal to congratulate Reebok on"netting the biggest signature in the game". Endorsements like these have allowed him to lead the luxurious lifestyle that allowed him to put up his whole crew in a Las Vegas mansion before his last fight.
For all the fighting talk, McGregor has the moves to back it up, and it is no wonder that he is achieving some of the largest box office ticket sales in UFC history. His never give up attitude has seen him rise from an unknown to secure his status as one of the biggest MMA fighters on the planet. He's come a long way since the days of standing in the dole queue in Crumlin, but his hard work and determination have carried him through.
With a little bit more of that, McGregor is aiming to defeat Jose Aldo in a title unification bout this December. Victory in Nevada, Las Vegas would see him crowned the UFC Featherweight Champion.
How can you be the next Conor McGregor?
Thanks to televised combat sports like UFC, the profile of Mixed Martial Arts is on the rise once again. McGregor took it up as nothing more than a hobby, but hard work and determination saw him achieve greatness. You could do the same.
It's never too late to take up Mixed Martial Arts. Mixed Martial Arts classes offer an exciting combination of striking and grappling techniques from standing, seated or ground positions. Conor McGregor started out as a boxer, but there are many other styles available, which include Taekwondo, Muay Thai, Kickboxing and Brazilian JuJitsu. There is something to suit everyone.
With a similar level of endeavour, why can't you, or your child become the next Conor McGregor? Of course you don't have to be, it can be a hobby too, but with the new school year approaching, now is the ideal time to get your kids signed up to a martial arts class. It's great fun and teaches valuable skills, in and outside of the ring. Make sure you check out what you need to know about finding a martial arts class for your kids.
With the popularity of Mixed Martial Arts growing, there are bound to be local classes near you! Take the next step towards joining a martial arts class by using Martial Arts Near You to find classes in your neighbourhood.