The life of Conor McGregor is an utterly unique one across all of all of combat sports, as his mixture of historic success, boisterous personality, and controversy outside of the Octagon is simply unmatched, and is sure to remain so for quite some time. As the Irish superstar prepares to mount a comeback against Donald Cerrone on Jan. 18 at UFC 246, let's take a look back at the five most jaw-dropping (for better or worse!) moments in his notorious career.
5. Going After The Ref In a Fight He Wasn't Even In
The old saying "he'll fight anyone, anywhere" certainly applies to McGregor, as he'll even pop up in other MMA promotions that he isn't even fighting in. McGregor threw punches at referee Mark Goddard during Bellator 187 in Dublin after his friend Charlie Ward picked up a knockout. McGregor fought Goddard after he tried to push the Irish star out of the ring. If McGregor had a chance to do everything over again, he'll probably stay in the stands.
4. Shocking Submission Loss to Nate Diaz
Nate Diaz, a violent fighter that prides himself on putting blood on the mat, was the first fighter to take it right to McGregor and control the tempo of the fight. Diaz submitted McGregor in the second round at UFC 196, which showed the rest of the MMA world at large that Conor was mortal and could be beaten if you came out as the aggressor. Luckily for McGregor, he got his revenge just a few months later when he beat Diaz in their rematch and reminded everyone that the king was back.
3. The Mayweather Fight
Think about how absurd this was. McGregor, who had never boxed before, agreed to get in the ring with the greatest defensive boxer who ever lived in Floyd Mayweather, a man who hadn't fought for two years and had to come out of retirement. McGregor looked like the aggressor early on, but this can be chalked up to Mayweather trying to give the pay-per-view crowd their money's worth before starting to pick McGregor apart. Mayweather won in the 10th via TKO, but the event generated the second-largest pay-per-view audience in history.
2. The Post-Khabib Melee at UFC 229
In Conor's most recent fight, Russian superstar Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated him in the fourth round in October 2018, preserving his undefeated record. That was the TAME part of the evening, however, as McGregor and Khabib's camps started trash-talking each other, which led to Khabib leaping into the stands to throw punches as McGregor was attacked by two of Khabib's trainers. While suspensions followed, the massive mess marred what was a tremendous exhibition of mixed martial arts. McGregor will have to work hard to overcome being associated with this rough night in Vegas for years to come.
1. The Jose Aldo Knockout
Before this 13-second (!) fight, McGregor was an interesting prospect that had a penchant for brash press conferences and bold guarantees. After this fight, McGregor was a superstar, as sending a fighter as talented as featherweight champion Jose Aldo to the mat in less than one quarter of one minute remains one of the most impressive displays of skill across all of combat sports over the last decade. With just one punch, the legend of the most recognizable fighter in UFC history was born.