Anybody who takes an interest in sports will have heard of Conor McGregor. McGregor, or The Notorious, as people often refer to him as, is undoubtedly the driving force behind the rapid rise in popularity of the UFC. He’s not only excelled inside the octagon, but he’s surpassed expectations outside of it too, and has fast become a global megastar as well as being one of the most recognisable figures in sports. So can anyone replace McGregor, not just in the UFC, but in sports in general?
First of all, you have to consider McGregor in two ways. McGregor the fighter and McGregor the personality. McGregor is a superstar in his own right in the UFC. He’s the only fighter to ever hold two belts at different weights at the same time. He’s also well known for knocking out UFC legend and former featherweight champion Jose Aldo is just 13 seconds back at UFC 194. It’s the fastest ever victory in a title fight in UFC history. He’s the current lightweight champion as things stand and his abilities as a fighter make him irreplaceable in a way.
McGregor, as a fighter, is the biggest pay per view draw by far in the MMA, and he holds various records for the biggest selling PPV events. The other side of McGregor, him as a person, is probably more irreplaceable than his fighting abilities. He’s developed a reputation for being outspoken, for being a loud mouth and for being a trash talker. This has made him one of the biggest media pulls in modern-day sports because people simply can’t get enough of the Notorious Dubliner. One only needs to look at popular sports sites like Betting (dot) com, where it is quite noticeable as to how much comments and interest is generated by any articles or betting markets based on the fighter.
The brashness of McGregor and the way he goes about his business in the build-up to fights shows just how clever he is and how integral he is; not only to UFC but to the sports world in general. We saw just recently how he managed to promote a fight with Floyd Mayweather in the boxing ring because of his ability to develop the hype around it. In the weeks running up to the bout which saw MMA meet boxing for the first time professionally, McGregor really delivered in making it a must-see event. The fight saw over 4 million pay-per-view sales generated, with approximately 50 million people looking at the fight in the United States.
McGregor really is one of a kind, in both how he operates as a fighter and how he is personality wise too. The UFC is constantly growing in popularity, and the hope is that The Notorious will return to the octagon soon; as he looks set to lose his lightweight belt after being inactive since winning it from Eddie Alvarez way back in November 2016. While McGregor made a foray into professional boxing, the UFC is his domain, and it will be great to see him once again deliver the hype in the run-up to another big fight.