Conor McGregor is widely recognised as the biggest star in Mixed Martial Arts, despite somewhat controversial actions over his tenure as the UFC's most profitable draw. He captured the hearts of thousands of Irish fans, before emerging as one of the most significant combat sports athletes of all time and becoming a household name worldwide.
Early on in his career with the UFC, McGregor earned the nickname Mystic Mac due to his supernatural ability to predict the outcome of his matches down to the method and round of victory. This skill was never on form more than when he predicted his 1st round destruction of Jose Aldo. However, even McGregor couldn't have prophesied the fastest knockout in UFC history, with his victory coming 13 seconds after the commencement of the fight. He also could never have predicted that a loss to Nate Diaz would benefit him far greater than a win could ever have.
But what if the stars never aligned for Mystic Mac? What if the events that acted as the catalysts for his success never occurred? How different would his career, the UFC and the landscape of MMA look, without the influence of 'The Notorious' Conor McGregor? Let's find out.
10. John Kavanagh & SBG
‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor was born and raised in the now-famous suburb of Crumlin, Dublin. From an early age, McGregor was a keen sportsman, boxing at Crumlin Boxing Club and playing football for Lourdes Celtic Football Club. But it wasn’t until 2006 that he discovered the world of Mixed Martial Arts and began his journey to becoming the first double champion in the UFC.
However, the story could have ended before it even began if it wasn’t for his coach, John Kavanagh. Kavanagh started Straight Blast Gym as a passion project to teach other people the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA skills he had learned. SBG went from strength to strength over the years, and eventually, a young Conor McGregor found himself training under Kavanagh. After suffering his first professional MMA loss in 2008 to submission specialist Artemij Sitenkov via kneebar, he took a hiatus from the sport, hoping to explore other avenues. Reluctant to let McGregor squander his MMA skills, his mother, Margaret McGregor, and Kavanagh reinvigorated him to pursue a career as a professional mixed martial artist.
As the old saying goes, ‘mother knows best!’