Conor McGregor always maintains that whoever he steps into the Octagon with, he ends up making them rich and famous, so we look at some of the biggest rivalries the Irishman has had over the years.
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Conor McGregor once uttered the famous quote of: “I can make you rich. I’ll change your bum life. You fight me, it’s a celebration. When you sign to fight me, it’s a celebration. You ring back home, you ring your wife: “Baby, we’ve done it. We’re rich baby. Conor McGregor made us rich. Break out the red panties.”
He was pointing out that once you signed to fight with him, then you had made it in life. Not everyone is a fan of the brash Irishman, and he often rubs up people the wrong way.
Over years, he has fought the biggest names and carved out massive rivalries. Here, we take a look at some of those.
American Nate Diaz was drafted in as a late substitute to face McGregor in 2016, after McGregor’s original opponent Rafael dos Anjos was forced to withdraw with a broken foot.
That fight was scheduled to be in the lightweight division, but Diaz was a welterweight. McGregor then agreed to fight at welterweight to avoid Diaz having to drastically cut weight. That was where the niceties ended.
These two just didn’t get on, and their rivalry ramped up even further after Diaz choked McGregor out in the second round. A rematch was agreed, and the insults continued to fly. There was also a bottle throwing incident at a press conference, that saw McGregor fined. McGregor got his revenge in the second fight as he won on points.
McGregor and Jose Aldo will always be linked together because it was this fight that sent the Irishman’s popularity through the roof.
Their fight was originally supposed to take place in July 201, and they promoted it in eight different cities. During those promotion events, McGregor continued to get under the skin of Aldo – showing the Brazilian – who had not been beaten in 10 years – no respect at all.
The fight was called off after Aldo suffered an injury, with McGregor going on to beat Chad Mendes for the interim title. That set up McGregor and Aldo to clash in December, and McGregor soon started with the insults yet again.
A lot of people thought that McGregor was all talk, but he proved them all wrong by taking just 13 seconds to knock out Aldo to become featherweight champion.
The hatred and contempt between McGregor and Khabib had reached boiling point long before the Russian choked McGregor out in the fourth round of their fight in October 2018.
These two had been at each other’s throats for quite a while. In April 2018, McGregor was arrested after being involved in an incident that saw the Irishman and his friends trash a bus that was carrying Khabib and a number of other fighters.
Even after that incident, McGregor continued to mock and insult Khabib – going after his entourage, family and religion – something that infuriated Khabib.
Instead of firing back with insults of his own, Khabib let his fighting skills do the talking. He choked McGregor out in the fourth round and then scaled the cage to have a pop at McGregor’s team-mate Dillon Danis, while Khabib’s team-mate attacked McGregor inside the Octagon.
Watch this space, as this rivalry might not be over just yet.
Floyd Mayweather Jr
It is not just UFC fighters that McGregor has had issues with. He has crossed over into the boxing and got the whole world talking about his fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
McGregor and Mayweather did their best to promote the fight with brash predictions and promises, and the Irishman truly believed he would be the first person to defeat Mayweather – it never happened, but it was fun to watch.
Every time the pair of them had a microphone ion their hand, they would launch attacks on the other. It was pure entertainment, whether or not the hatred between the two is the same as some of his UFC rivalries, I’m not sure. But they had a fight to sell and it was pure magic.
The fight it self wasn’t pure magic though, McGregor hardly got close to Mayweather and the unbeaten fighter got McGregor out in the 10th round.
There might not be a lot of real hate between McGregor and Mayweather, but the same cannot be said about another boxer – Paulie Malignaggi.
Malignaggi offered to be a sparring partner for McGregor to help in his fight against Mayweather, but their relationship soon soured.
The retired boxer was furious when footage of McGregor seemingly knocking Malignaggi to the canvas was released. Malignaggi soon walked out and has taken every opportunity since to badmouth the UFC superstar.
There is genuine hate and contempt between the two of them, if McGregor is to try his hand in the boxing ring again, then this is the fight we will all want to see.