The definition of “notorious” is ‘famous or well known, typically for some bad quality or deed’ and that’s the first thing to note about the first ever UFC fighter to hold two championship titles in different divisions at the same time. He doesn’t want everyone to like him.
You would be forgiven if you thought this was a nickname given to Conor McGregor in the latter stages of his career after numerous brash press conferences, however, this moniker was self-given before the Irishman had even stepped inside of a UFC octagon. This arrogance isn’t only common in the fighting world, it’s necessary, and McGregor has perfected it down to a tee from his pre-fight verbal barrages to his outlandish style in and out of the ring. He’s the closest thing this world has come to Muhammad Ali.
For those who don’t watch the Dublin-born Lightweight Champion – or, most likely, the UFC at all – they won’t understand him. It’s a Donald Trump-like attribute, to dislike that which we can’t comprehend, but it’s an opinion that is so popular among the average sports fan today. It’s all too easy to forget that Conor McGregor was withdrawing cheques off the dole less than five years ago, now he’s a multi-millionaire who’s entertained the world of boxing with less than three months training.
Maybe that’s why you don’t like him. Maybe you think his passage into the fine art of boxing was a joke, a sham, a money-making mechanism that pulled the wool over our eyes. To that, all I say is, boxing is doing a good job of that itself. Look at the Golovkin v Canelo fight we just witnessed and the farce of the judges’ scores in that. There’s no doubt the MayMac bout wasn’t heavily engineered by the yankee dollar but why should that make it any less genuine? Everything Mayweather has ever done has been money orientated. This fight was never going to be any different. McGregor was never going to win, I think he even he knew that. But he was due a payday away from the contract-tight UFC fights after carrying the Championship for the last few years and that’s what he got.
McGregor, as he did in the defeat to Nate Diaz, shrouded himself in humility after the Mayweather fight, honestly admitting he was beaten by a better, more experienced boxer. This is just another reason the 29-year old is so hard to hate when he’s scrutinised closely. After the Diaz fight at UFC 196, when he tapped out in only the second round, McGregor explained that he knew what he did wrong and that he would be back to beat Diaz soon. Many didn’t believe that the naturally lighter fighter could truly overcome the Compton-born Diaz. Less than 6 months later, ‘Mystic Mac’ was back with the referee holding his arm aloft in the octagon once again doing what he has done since he started in mixed martial arts, prove the doubters wrong.
So hate McGregor if you want, that’s your prerogative, although I would be surprised if it was for any reason other than you’ve only seen a handful of YouTube clips and he came across as an ‘arrogant loud-mouth’. He is – you wouldn’t be wrong – because he knows how quickly this success came and how it can disappear even quicker. Conor McGregor knew he’d be notorious, before we even knew who he was.