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Mayweather vs McGregor: A SparkNotes Guide to Conor McGregor

Don’t really know much at all about Conor McGregor? Here’s a guide to the man brave/stupid enough to face Floyd Mayweather.

Conor McGregor Media Workout Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

So, Boxing Fan, you want to learn about Conor McGregor.

Maybe you're researching your bet for August 26 (free tip: put the dollars on Floyd). Or perhaps you’re wondering what could possibly make a professional fighter choose a fight he has no way on earth of winning (money). Maybe you want to know the story behind the polar-bear clad man with the maniacal laugh from last week’s press tour. Regardless of motive, here you are and fear not: you've come to the right place. Read on for your quick guide to Conor McGregor.

Chapter 1: The Man-slash-Myth-slash-Legend

The story’s near-official lore of UFC: The company’s President Dana White went to Dublin and kept hearing a name, over and over: Conor McGregor. Back home in Las Vegas, the earworm stuck with Dana, so he called up the young Irish southpaw Irish, flew him out to Nevada, and -- in a now-famous Ferrari ride -- was so struck by his bravado and star-potential, he signed Conor without ever seeing him fight.

In McGregor, White hit a jackpot.

Since that 2013 trip to Sin City, Conor McGregor’s become the first UFC fighter to hold simultaneous championship titles in two different weight divisions. He currently holds the record for fastest UFC stoppage. He’s achieved superstardom for wildly entertaining antics in and outside the Octagon. Forbes saved him a spot in the top 25 highest paid athletes this year. Add it all up and you get a world-famous sensation, though to hear him tell it, Conor McGregor’s success was as easy as closing his eyes and manifesting his life in his mind.

Chapter 2: The Beginning

The 29-year-old with an entire country behind him for each fight has deep Irish roots. You can find the story in most articles: born in the suburbs of Dublin, McGregor played soccer (or football, if you're into that kind of thing) and rooted for his favorite team (Man U, if you're into that kind of thing). Conveniently for combat sport fans, Conor’s youth soccer club was right beside a boxing gym. The McGregors moved to a new town when Conor was 15, and the loneliness and teen-angst-iness led to more solo time, which he invested in kickboxing and jiu-jitsu. Training was going well, and so in 2006, McGregor left his plumbing apprenticeship to focus on fighting full time.

In 2008, with only one amateur fight under his belt (a win, by technical knockout), Conor signed a professional contract with Irish Cage of Truth. 14 fights later, McGregor rode down the Las Vegas strip in a Ferrari, and the rest is UFC history.

Chapter 3: The Notorious

After two pre-UFC losses by submission, Conor “The Notorious” McGregor went on a 15 fight winning streak before 2016’s loss to Nate Diaz at UFC 196. The fight was noteworthy on several levels. Conor was originally scheduled to take on Rafael dos Anjos for the UFC Lightweight Championship title; dos Anjos dropped out with an injury less than two weeks before the match. A last minute replacement was found in Nate Diaz, and the fight was set for the welterweight division, a new weight class for Conor. He lost by submission in the second round. In a quick rematch several months later, McGregor came back to beat Diaz in a bout won by close decision. Diaz vs. McGregor 2 also marks the first -- and only -- time in Conor’s career that he fought a full five rounds. A look at his fight results gets you an eyeful of KOs and TKOs. He currently holds a 21-3 record with 18 knockouts.

That he wins so dominantly isn’t the only remarkable thing about Conor’s career. In his nine years in the Octagon, he has fought at lightweight, featherweight and welterweight, holding simultaneous championship belts in lightweight and featherweight. He won a fight with a torn ACL. McGregor’s fearless, taking fights from any worthy opponent; including ones in other sports.

In March 2017, after much speculation and trash talking, McGregor announced he’d be fighting undefeated champion boxer Floyd Mayweather on August 26... despite never boxing professionally before.

Chapter 4: The Money Fight

McGregor die-hards are holding out hope that their guy's left hand finds its target, but what can we realistically expect come August 26? For starters, his entourage might look familiar to UFC fans. Early reports show Conor’s bringing his core MMA team into the squared circle. Head coach John Kavanagh, sparring partner and UFC fighter Artem Lobov and striking coach Owen Roddy are all likely to join him in Las Vegas. Not far from the blue corner, expect to see McGregor’s longtime girlfriend Dee Devlin, too.

Barring a break from tradition, the Irish side will also walk out to a familiar song. McGregor’s had Sinead O’Connor’s “The Foggy Dew” accompany his ring walk for years, sporting an Irish flag (yep, the same one Floyd tried on for size), and his professional boxing debut should be no different.

Fight fans are also safe to set expectations on a few other key McGregorisms leading up to the fight: the trash talk, over-the-top outfits and hoards of Irish fans will make a racket all the way up until August 26.

Some elements of the fight are impossible to predict. Will Conor kick Floyd? Can the MMA star land a single punch? Can he get last twelve rounds? Everyone with an eye for boxing (or, just eyes) predicts The Money Fight ends with a decision for Mayweather, but we’ll have to tune in to see how it ultimately plays out.

Chapter 5: The Secret

Most athletes practice some form of visualization, but as with most things, Conor McGregor takes positive thinking to the extreme. He read Rhonda Byrne’s 2006 book The Secret and says he’s been manifesting his own success ever since. The book explains how to harness the power of the law of attraction: if you picture yourself becoming a world champion UFC fighter, you’ll become a world champion UFC fighter, for example. Check out any of McGregor’s fight pressers and it’s not hard to imagine him literally talking himself into winning.

McGregor’s thinking good thoughts method will come under the ultimate test come August 26: Will it be enough to help The Notorious fighter do the impossible?

Key Quotations

“When I say something’s going to happen, it’s going to happen.”

“I have the greatest job in the world. I get paid loads of cash for beating the crap out of people. And I’m very good at it.”

“Trash talk? Smack talk? This is an American term that makes me laugh. I simply speak the truth. I’m an Irish man.”

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