Conor McGregor made his long-awaited return to the Octagon in January 2020 when he took out Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone inside 40 seconds for a spectacular victory, and as we wait to learn who his next opponent will be we have been looking back at some of the Irishman’s biggest wins of his career so far.
McGregor v Max Holloway – August 2013
McGregor had lived up to his billing by knocking out Marcus Brimage in short order in his UFC debut, and for his second outing ‘The Notorious’ was scheduled to face Max Holloway. The Hawaiian fighter was seen as a star of the future at that point and while he was not at the same level he is now (he is the featherweight champion at the time of writing), he was still a good test for McGregor. The Irishman passed that test with flying colours and what made the result even more impressive was the fact he suffered a torn ACL during the bout, forcing him onto the sidelines for several months.
McGregor v Chad Mendes – July 2015
When McGregor returned from injury he wasted no time forcing his way into the title picture, stopping Diego Brandao, Dustin Poirier and Dennis Siver to set up a huge title fight with Jose Aldo. The Brazilian pulled out just weeks before the fight due to injury and instead of sitting on the sidelines waiting for Aldo to be fit again, McGregor accepted a change of opponent in Chad Mendes and the bout was made for the interim featherweight champion. The Irishman shrugged off the massive stylistic change in opposition and his confidence almost backfired as the American took the first round on the scorecards and took McGregor to the mat in each of the first two rounds, but when the two men were on their feet it was ‘The Notorious’ who had the edge and he brought the fight to a close late in the second round with a crisp combination and some follow-up strikes.
McGregor v Jose Aldo – December 2015
The angle you've never seen before ?
— UFC (@ufc) January 3, 2020
McGregor and Aldo finally shared the Octagon in December 2015 and if you blinked you would have probably missed it. The champion had not been beaten in a decade, but it took just 13 seconds for McGregor to land a devastating left-hook that made him the undisputed featherweight champion.
McGregor v Nate Diaz 2 – August 2016
With the featherweight title in the bag, McGregor set his sights on becoming the first man to hold UFC titles in two different weight classes at the same time and he was granted a shot at lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos. However, once again he saw a title shot go up in smoke as the champion pulled out with injury and once again McGregor would accept a late change of opponent. The decision backfired though as Nate Diaz forced him to tap out to a rear-naked choke, and McGregor was quick to demand another crack at the American and he wanted it to take place at welterweight once again to prove a point. The two men went to war for five rounds and it was McGregor who took the honours on the judges’ scorecards.
McGregor v Eddie Alvarez – November 2016
Having avenged the loss to Diaz, McGregor once again focused in on the lightweight title and it was announced that the Irishman would challenge Eddie Alvarez for the belt at the historic Madison Square Garden debut card. An historic card needed an historic main event with an historic result, and it got it as McGregor picked apart Alvarez on the feet before finishing him off in the second round to become the first fighter to hold two UFC titles at the same time.