Conor McGregor is the most recognisable MMA fighter on the planet. The former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion is the first fighter in UFC history to hold two world titles simultaneously. He is also the promotion’s biggest draw and its top pay-per-view star.
But as a teenager, before becoming an undisputed UFC champion, McGregor worked as a plumbing apprentice in Lucan, Dublin. It was here McGregor met former UFC fighter Tom Egan and soon, the two would begin training in MMA and the rest, as they say, is history.
McGregor’s rise to the top would be legendary.
Boxing Training at the Crumlin Gym
McGregor’s first foray into combat sports started aged 12 when he trained in boxing at the Crumlin Gym under Phil Sutcliffe Sr, a former professional boxer and two-time Olympian.
WATCH: A young Conor McGregor during his early boxing days below.
“Phil Sutcliffe is a phenomenal boxing coach and my time under Phil in Crumlin Boxing Club, I learned so many fundamentals that I still carry with me today. I learned so many shots off Phil and the coaching staff down there and the sparring with Phil Sutcliffe Jnr in my early days was phenomenal, it got me to that next level I feel.”Conor McGregor
But McGregor didn’t just want to box. He was hungry to learn other fighting disciplines and soon he was no longer able to train at the Crumlin Gym because he was doing grappling and wrestling. Later, he met former UFC fighter Tom Egan Lucan and the two started training in MMA.
UFC 93 was the turning point in McGregor’s life
McGregor made his MMA debut on March 8, 2008, when he knocked out Gary Morris in a featherweight bout. He would fight three more times that year, going 2-1 during that stretch.
Meanwhile, Egan would go on to become a UFC fighter and fought in the preliminary card of UFC 93 held at the 3Arena in Dublin. Although Egan lost to John Hathaway via knockout, the event became the turning point in McGregor’s life.
“When I got into combat sports it was to defend myself,” McGregor explained, “I just started with a love of learning how to fight, mastering defense and attack. Then the UFC came to Dublin [in 2009] and I saw the machine in full flow. I thought: ‘There’s a place I can make a good living’. I saw all the fans and fighters and I didn’t see me. I was different. I knew people would love that. So it started with a love for the sport and it’s been strengthened by a love for the money it brings.”Conor McGregor
After becoming a two-division champion at Cage Warriors, the UFC finally came calling. McGregor made his UFC debut on April 6, 2013, at UFC on Fuel TV 9 in Stockholm where he scored a knockout against Marcus Brimage. Six fights later, McGregor defeated Chad Mendes to become the interim UFC featherweight champion at UFC 189. One fight later, he knocked out Jose Aldo in 12 seconds to become the undisputed UFC featherweight champion.
Three bouts later, McGregor knocked out Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 to annex the lightweight belt. He became the first fighter to win and hold two different belts simultaneously.