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Apprentice Plumber To Global Icon: Conor McGregor's Incredible Journey To Superstardom

Apprentice Plumber To Global Icon: Conor McGregor's Incredible Journey To Superstardom

Happy 29th birthday to 'The Notorious.'

Nasir Jabbar

Nasir Jabbar

Amidst the wild world tour, Conor McGregor turns 29 today. And in honour of 'The Notorious' birthday, we chart his meteoric rise. From fighting in basements to making UFC history.

As McGregor prepares to take on the greatest boxer of our generation, we look back at his most defining moments in the cage which has made him a true global icon.

WHO: Dave Hill

WHEN: Cage Warriors FC 47 on June 2nd, 2012

WHERE: Dublin, Ireland

McGregor applies a rear-naked choke on Hill earning the submission victory.

The Helix, a theatre and conference venue, played host to McGregor's first crack at a title. McGregor was beginning to make a name for himself for his brash antics and cocky pre-fight predictions, overwhelming Hill with the mental warfare who even conceded; "He gets in your head and it really overwhelms you."

As for fight, McGregor stalked Hill on the feet showcasing his underrated kicking game, before taking the fight to the ground in the second round eventually sinking in a rear-naked choke with 50-seconds left on the clock.

After submitting Hill, McGregor jumped over the cage into the midst of the crowd celebrating the victory with his people. In wake of claiming the featherweight belt, he was then given the opportunity to fight for the promotions lightweight title.

WHO: Ivan Buchinger

WHEN: Cage Warriors FC 51 on December 31st, 2012

WHERE: Dublin, Ireland

McGregor bursts out a roar after stopping Buchinger. Image: Cage Warriors

McGregor's final audition before being signed to the UFC was taking on Ivan Buchinger for the CWFC lightweight strap. The Slovak had demonstrated his durability and endurance by finishing opponents late in his fights while boasting a varied attack which paves the way for his buttery smooth ground game, which had helped him win a majority of his fights by submission.

McGregor's supposed weakness.

But the CWFC featherweight champion picked Buchinger apart by going to his main attacking option; the corkscrew lead uppercut into cross followed by a beautiful counter left-hook sent his foe crumbling to the canvas. McGregor became a two weight champion holding the feather and lightweight belts, simultaneously. Will he be able to replicate the same feat in the UFC?

WHO: Chad Mendes

WHEN: UFC 189 on July 11th, 2015

WHERE: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

McGregor celebrates claiming the interim-featherweight title with head coach John Kavanagh. Image: PA

The main-event was supposed to be the highly-charged fight between Jose Aldo and McGregor. Both men would travel around the world promoting the bout across an unprecedented world media tour until Aldo was forced to withdraw citing a rib injury.

Step up Chad Mendes. The Crumlin-fighter was maligned for his journey to the title with claims he was being 'protected' from wrestlers. McGregor would use this very moment to face the risk he was thought to be guarded against.

The Team Alpha Male product took McGregor down repeatedly raining down elbows. Come the second round and the same story until Mendes attempted to latch onto a guillotine. McGregor managed to scramble out of the submission to bring the fight back to its feet as he unleashed a stinging left-cross flooring Mendes to become interim-champion.

WHO: Jose Aldo

WHEN: UFC 194 on December 12th, 2015

WHERE: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

McGregor's devastating counter left-hand lands flush on Aldo's chin. Image: PA

At UFC 194 the prophecy was fulfilled. McGregor rattled off six-emphatic performances before facing the dominant and reigning champion. But was still subject to critique following his rise. The anti-McGregor brigade would continue to spout that he was being protected or he's all talk. Yet, talking the talk and walking the walk silenced the doubters.

McGregor's gift for gab is in fact a very methodical approach to the fight game but he'd gone from 'Mystic Mac' to 'Zen-McGregor' on fight week mindfucking Aldo.

Still managing to squeeze this bold statement; "I see him overreacting, overextending, and then be KO'd unconscious." And - you guessed it - he did! Aldo suffered a defeat for the first time in 10 years. What's more, in just 13-bloody-seconds.

McGregor was incredibly loose. Taking advantage of the slightest of openings knocking Aldo out cold with a devastating left-hook and a brutal hammer-fist for good measure.

WHO: Nate Diaz

WHEN: UFC 202 on August 20th, 2016

WHERE: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

McGregor and Diaz embrace at the final bell following their grueling five-round war. Image: PA

After Diaz was drafted in on short-notice at UFC 196, the Stockton-fighter sprung the upset pulling off the second-round submission shocking the MMA world, and McGregor sworn for revenge ever since hellbent on the rematch even at welterweight. The pair were initially set to rematch at UFC 200 until a no-show at a pre-fight media obligation.

Once yanked from the card, they were then matched up at UFC 202 churning out an epic back-and-forth war. McGregor dropped his rival during the fight, chopping away at his lead leg but Diaz dished out his own attacks as well as taunting McGregor, though ultimately got the nod from the judges.

Going the full 25-minutes proved that McGregor was a championship level fighter despite the disparaging remarks made by Eddie Alvarez, not to mention showing his mettle by battling adversity to claim the victory.

Then hollering a classic McGregor soundbite. "Surprise, surprise, motherfucker. The king is back."

WHO: Eddie Alvarez

WHEN: UFC 205 on November 12th 2016

WHERE: New York City, New York, USA

Champ-champ. Image: PA

BJ Penn, Randy Couture and Conor McGregor. The only three fighters in UFC history to claim two titles in two divisions. Though unlike Penn and Couture, McGregor held both titles, simultaneously.

He followed in the footsteps of the likes of Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali to ply his trade at the iconic Madison Square Garden. And just like his predecessors, McGregor put on a virtuoso performance as he easily handled Eddie Alvarez.

McGregor's patented left-hand repeatedly connected on Alvarez's chin, wearing down the rugged fighter in the process. Though while the champion escaped the first round, Alvarez eventually succumbed to McGregor's meaty shots in the second round.

McGregor officially became a duel champion. He's etched himself in MMA history while becoming the 'face of the fight game.'

After producing heroics inside the cage then the famed Octagon, McGregor now swaps the four oz gloves for 10 oz boxing gloves as he welcomes Floyd Mayweather back to the ring on August 26th.

Featured Image Credit:

Topics: Conor Mcgregor, UFC