Conor McGregor

Unpopular Opinion:
Conor McGregor surpasses Muhammad Ali as the most influential combat sports athlete

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From the onset of his arrival onto the UFC landscape in April 2013, Conor McGregor has been nothing short of captivating. In his first ten fights with the promotion the Irishman amassed 9 victories, 7 TKO’s and 2 championship belts. It wasn’t just that McGregor was winning, it was how he was winning that caught the attention of the world. ‘Mystic Mac’ would not only predict the outcome of his bouts, he would pick the exact round in which the devastation of his opponents would occur. And speaking of opponents, McGregor never once avoided any opponent, nor did he handpick someone that all but guaranteed victory for himself. His performances have been so iconic that UFC President Dana White has even compared ‘Notorious’ to Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson, going as far as stating that “Conor McGregor surpassed Muhammad Ali’s mental warfare [ability].”

What McGregor has been able to do for the sport of MMA is unequivocally unparalleled. He hit the ground running in respect to his career, fighting every four months with a willingness to fight anyone, at any weight. Earlier in his career Mcgregor became a target for fighters across three different weight classes. A claim that no other fighter has been able to make.

McGregor has become prolific, with his achievements both within and outside the octagon only comparable to the persona he has created of himself. With a confidence often mistaken for arrogance, his flamboyant and unapologetic personality (along with his quick wit) allowed him to captivate millions of fans worldwide. He became bigger than the sport, as is evident in his excursions in the alcohol industry and his exhibition boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. The ‘McGregor Walk’ and iconic “You’ll do nothing” catchphrase have become commonplace in popular culture. And who can forget the all-time classic line directed at Jeremy Stephens, “Who the fuck is that guy?” Even grandmothers who have never followed any professional sport are familiar with the McGregor surname.

Muhamed Ali 1

Comparisons between Ali and Mcgregor are as undeniable as their respective influences on their sports. Although some purists out there will shout that Ali is incomparable, that Conor is simply too brash and arrogant, they seem to forget that Ali shared many of these same traits. He often emphasized his own greatness and relentlessly taunted and mocked his opponents, so much so that Sonny Liston once famously pulled a gun on the heavyweight champion.

Being the biggest name in a given sport requires more than just technical skill or elite calibre performances. You must be a larger than life character, innovative and controversial, unafraid of ruffling a few feathers. Being the greatest quite often means being notorious, and Mcgregor has done just that. He rewrote the UFC record book, becoming the first simultaneous two-weight champion, obtaining the fastest ever championship victory (Jose Aldo at UFC 194), and becoming the first fighter to actively fight across three weight classes.

With each fight, the future UFC Hall of Famer changes the way MMA is discerned and experienced. Since his arrival, MMA has become more lucrative, more mainstream and much more popular. What he has done for the sport can easily be compared to the influence Muhammad Ali had for boxing, and with the entire nation of Ireland behind him and an undeniable global reach, it’s safe to say that the Irishman may have surpassed his predecessor. Adding to the legend of McGregor is his well documented charitable exploits. He has donated funds from his whiskey brand to firefighters throughout the US and Ireland and most recently donated half a million dollars to the Boys And Girls Club of Acadiana, fulfilling a promise made to the world before his second bout with Dustin Poirier.

Despite anyone’s personal opinion of McGregor or Ali, fans of their respective sports and the general public cannot look away whenever either man’s name was and is still mentioned. Whether you agree or not, the fact that the two are comparable is undeniable and whether you like it or not, this current moment in sporting history will go down as the McGregor Era.

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  1. Macy Grey June 22, 2021 at 7:02 am

    The formula is simple the more people you can get pissed off and want to see you lose the more money you make. Fans buy some PPV events, haters buy every PPV event.

  2. DerrickLewis'HotBalls June 8, 2021 at 2:41 pm

    Nah fuck that dawg. McNuggets ain’t no where near Ali’s level. Ali is a symbol and icon for the black man. You can’t keep us down! I will wade in that water till my lungs give out MFer. Fuck Conor!!!!

    • Jonny Nat June 8, 2021 at 2:49 pm

      Ali was TRASH! He was an icon for for hate, thats it. He marched with the Black Panthers (a hate group) and preached his disapproval for cross racial marriages (hate speech)… Conor on the other hand has donated more money to real life heroes; first responders, than Ali made in his entire career. Not only is Conor influential, he is also a hero!

  3. CJ June 8, 2021 at 2:23 pm

    Conor McGregor in his prime was THE most entertaining athlete in sports. Period. Yes, Ali was a phenomenon and partially because of the times, but Conor was the most polarizing figure in sports DEPSITE the times. His body of work alone would speak for him, but we’ll let his big mouth keep doing that!! ???????????????????? ????

  4. C- Rio June 8, 2021 at 10:08 am

    Conor has a long ways to go before he can compare to Ali.

  5. Wakanda Forever June 8, 2021 at 9:25 am

    BLASPHEMY!!! I will not stand for this BS.

  6. american_wagyu June 8, 2021 at 9:14 am

    I 100% agree that Conor has surpassed Ali. Ali was was a phenomenon., but not at the level of Conor. And Conor still has 3 good years of his prime left.

  7. Matt Lake June 8, 2021 at 8:44 am

    Conor has completely changed the sport of MMA and has risen to the top spot in the world as an athlete. The comparisons may be there like the Jordan (and everyone else debate) but MMA is only growing and can overtake any of the current sports combined!!

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