Conor McGregor has agreed to a monumental return to the UFC after thrashing out terms with Dustin Poirier. The Irishman is looking to clash with the battle-hardened Poirier on the 23rd January on Fight Island, and will be looking ahead to make a huge splash on his return to the octagon.
The 32-year-old had announced his retirement from the eight walls of death in June, something he had done in 2016 and 2019, but made it clear that he wanted to tangle with the American striker in recent months. McGregor has only recorded 40 seconds in 2020 after dispatching Donald Cerrone in emphatic fashion at UFC 246.
McGregor’s Origin Story
While Conor McGregor took to the superstar life organically, the UFC titan hailed from humble beginnings. Coming from a working-class family from the suburbs of Dublin, McGregor traversed through childhood gyms, a spell as a plumber’s apprentice and the eventual taste of unparalleled fame and fortune in the world of UFC.
The Irishman perfected his verbal welfare to become a valuable weapon out of the octagon as well as inside it. The “Louisville Lip” aka Muhammed Ali, inspired a young McGregor both as a fighter and to use his words a firearm.
Conor McGregor’s cult of loyal fans have followed the Dubliner since his mouth and fists started to pay dividends. His faithful band of acolytes have propelled the fighter to the top of his game and also put Dublin and the country of Ireland on the map.
The Cage Warriors franchise is where the Dublin native flourished and caught the eye of UFC president Dana White. Already a featherweight champion, McGregor locked horns with Ivan Buchinger for the lightweight title, and in the second round dismantled the Slovakian fighter with a vicious left hook cementing a spot in the UFC.
Passion in the Octagon
The Dubliner’s first fight under the UFC’s lights was against a resilient and dangerous Marcus Brimage. McGregor had hit the big stage and was not going to squander an opportunity like this, throwing the kitchen sink at Brimage eventually dropping him with a flurry of punches.
Following the Irishman’s supremacy in the featherweight division and persistence on a title shot, the UFC presented Jose Aldo at UFC 189. A late withdrawal by the Brazilian saw fellow contender Chad Mendes step up and the two showcased the interim featherweight title bout.
This seemed Notorious’ first real test, with Mendes being tipped as a world class wrestler. Although wearing some heavy hits on the canvas, the Irishman overcame Mendes in the second round to claim the interim strap. McGregor was showing his fans and himself his passion for the sport and was riding a wave of momentum.
December 2015, UFC 194 was upon the world and McGregor finally got his shot at long-reigning champion Jose Aldo. Unbeaten in a decade, Aldo was considered the sport’s greatest champion and the Dubliner’s toughest test.
It appeared Conor did not get the memo and ended the Brazilian’s reign in 13 seconds with a devastating left hand and was crowned king. Conor’s left hand had dynamite in it and dismantled the dangerous Brazilian in a matter of seconds, the win catapulted the Irish brawler to the upper echelons of the sport.
Modesty in the Eight Walls
Nate Diaz inflicted a first loss on McGregor in 2016, at UFC 196, submitting him in the second round in the Irishman’s first fight at welterweight. The American took the fight on very short notice and was subject to McGregor’s barbs early on.
McGregor, even though devastated with the loss, he sought modesty and refrained from hurling insults and rematch clauses at Diaz saying “I was inefficient with my energy, but I’m humble in victory and defeat and my respect to Nate. He came in, he took the fight on short notice, came in at 170 and did the job.”
Fast forward to UFC 229, 2018, when McGregor stood before his biggest obstacle to date in Khabib Nurmagomedov. Modesty was not the Irishman’s strong suit in this clash, as he continued to berate the Dagestan native trading a plethora of insults before the fight.
Khabib did his talking in the ring, as he dismantled the Irish warrior by submitting him in the 4th round. It was the scenes that followed when both camps clashed and chaos erupted in Vegas.
After nearly 15-month hiatus from MMA, McGregor announced his return after putting pen to paper to fight gun-slinging veteran Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in January 2020.
It only took 40 seconds for Notorious to knock out the venerable welterweight, and the Irish poster boy did it in emphatic fashion. Cerrone had promised fans a five-round fight and had looked to go to war with the former dual champion, but after some unorthodox shoulder attacks from McGregor, Cerrone was on the floor seeing stars.
Reignite or Extinguish
With only a quarter of a round under his belt in 2020 it is hard to see if Conor McGregor’s passion has been reignited. The Irishman did showcase a handful of new offensive weapons against Cerrone which many believed might have flamed his desire to win.
The smarter punter would like to think that Dustin Poirier is the favorite to win this, but with Conor’s fresh impetus and determination you can never write off the trash-talking Irishman.
Poirier is an experienced striker who has raised some eyebrows after brushing aside some of the biggest names in the UFC. Dan Hooker was Poirier’s last victim as the fight went the distance ultimately crowning “The Diamond” unanimous winner. With his scathing prowess and battle-hardened work-ethic, it seems hard to see if McGregor will get past him.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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