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Former two division Ultimate Fighting Championship belt holder Conor McGregor is arguably the most charismatic fighter to ever set foot in the Octagon.
For his next appearance, the SBG Ireland representative will meet Khabib Nurmagomedov in the main event at UFC 229 Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. A win for the Dublin native would see him regain the UFC lightweight belt, which he had stripped in April of this year due to inactivity; the culmination of his sojourn from MMA to challenge Floyd “Money” Mayweather in the boxing ring.
As one of the biggest fight in UFC history draws closer, here are five things that you might not know about the brash 30-year-old Irishman known as “Notorious.”
1. He used to be a plumbing apprentice.In his late teens (2006-07) Conor McGregor spent a year working as a plumbing apprentice. He once stated in an interview, “I did a year in that (plumbing) and it just wasn’t for me.” Despite his then tenuous financial position, McGregor swapped fixing leaking pipes for fulltime mixed martial arts training. After one amateur contest, a 2007 first round TKO win, McGregor joined SBG Ireland in 2008. He made his professional bow later that year.
2. His childhood dream was to be a soccer player.As a child, McGregor was a talented soccer player who had aspirations of turning out for his childhood team, Manchester United. But his destiny was not to join the list of his fellow countrymen to play for the prestigious club. At the age of 12, McGregor started training at the Crumlin Boxing Club, and he began to drift away from the sport of soccer.
3. He has trained with a movement coach.At various times, McGregor has worked with Ido Portal, a well-known Israeli movement coach, who has assisted athletes from a range of different disciplines. McGregor’s movement training regime has entailed walking tightropes, doing exercises with sticks, performing a range of sand-based crouching exercises and punching cards out of the air. ‘The Notorious’ is not the only SBG Ireland representative to have hired the movement guru. Gunnar Nelson is also an advocate of Portal’s methods. Some in the industry have ridiculed McGregor for his involvement with the movement coach, most notably Nate Diaz and Chael Sonnen. Others however have credited Portal for McGregor’s lightening quick reflexes.
4. He used to be on welfare.Prior to the commencement of his lucrative UFC career, McGregor was receiving assistance from the Irish government. His financial circumstances improved after winning a $60,000 bonus for knocking out Marcus Brimage in a little over a minute in his promotional debut in 2013. McGregor has stated in interviews that a week prior to his first appearance in the Octagon he had collected a $235 welfare check.
5. He holds one of the fastest knockouts in MMA history.McGregor’s resume boasts a lengthy list of fast knockouts. These include his 13-second KO of Jose Aldo at UFC 194 in Dec. 2015, which won him the UFC featherweight strap. However, this is not the Irishman’s fastest finish. Four and a half years earlier, in Apr. 2011, at Immortal Fighting Championship 4, McGregor, competing in his ninth professional contest, knocked out opponent Paddy Doherty with a left hook to the head a mere 3.5 seconds after the bell had sounded.
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