Conor McGregor is the most popular fighter in the UFC and is also the biggest draw ever in the history of the promotion.
Part of McGregor’s appeal was his rise from the weight classes to become the first fighter in UFC history to concurrently hold championships in two different weight classes. Since his promotional debut in 2013, The Notorious has fought in three different weight classes throughout his professional MMA career.
Let’s take a look at Conor McGregor’s rise in the different weight classes.
Conor McGregor’s Early Years
Before entering the UFC, Conor McGregor spent his early years fighting in various promotions in Ireland while moving back and forth between the featherweight and lightweight divisions. When he entered the UFC in 2013, his first bout against Marcus Brimage was in the featherweight division.
The Notorious spent the first part of his UFC career at featherweight. At UFC 189, he defeated Chad Mendes to become the interim UFC featherweight champion. One fight later, he became the undisputed featherweight champion when he knocked out Jose Aldo in 12 seconds at UFC 194.
McGregor vs Nate Diaz I and II
In 2016, McGregor moved up two weight classes to challenge Nate Diaz in a welterweight showdown at UFC 196. After losing that bout, the Irishman asked for an immediate rematch and got one at UFC 202. McGregor defeated Diaz via majority decision in a five-round bout which was also contested at the 170-pound weight class.
The Notorious then took a hiatus from MMA to prepare for a boxing match against undefeated boxing great Floyd Mayweather, Jr. McGregor and Mayweather fought in a boxing event dubbed the Money Fight on August 26, 2017. The 12-round bout was fought at boxing’s light-middleweight limit of 154 pounds.
After a two-year hiatus, Conor McGregor returned to the UFC to face lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205, in the UFC’s first-ever event held in New York City and the first event in the state of New York after the longtime MMA ban was revoked in 2016.
McGregor sensationally knocked out Alvarez to become the first fighter in the history of the UFC to hold two championship belts simultaneously. He was later stripped of the lightweight belt due to inactivity. In his next bout, McGregor challenged for the 155-pound belt but was beaten by Khabib Nurmagomedov via submission at UFC 229.
Inactivity and Next Fight
Following his loss to Khabib, McGregor went into a 15-month hiatus before returning in a welterweight bout against Donald Cerrone at UFC 246. McGregor knocked out Cerrone in inside one round to announce his comeback. The Notorious fought twice in 2021, losing two lightweight bouts to Dustin Poirier.
Conor McGregor has not fought since his twin defeats to Poirier. Currently, he is coaching TUF 31 opposite Michael Chandler. The competition is scheduled to end on August 15th and as with the previous editions of TUF, the coaches are expected to fight in the season finale. But with McGregor still unenrolled in the UFC’s drug testing pool, the anticipated lightweight bout still hangs in the balance.