Mixed martial arts is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and Conor McGregor is setting his sights on reaching the very top. The Irishman competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and is considered one of their most exciting prospects. McGregor made an instant impact on his debut last April, but suffered a cruciate ligament injury during his second bout last August. He has spent the last 7 months on the treatment table but is now in the final stages of his rehabilitation. His fighting style and amazing self confidence has made him one of the most fascinating characters in the sport. I spent an afternoon with him in the SBG gym in Dublin ahead of the broadcast of a documentary on RTE 2 tonight charting his remarkable rise.
McGregor, who is nicknamed 'The Notorious' competes in the featherweight and lightweight divisions is planning his competitve return to the cage this summer. The 25 year old admits there has been some dark days but he feels that he is on the road to recovery. He expects to be the headline act when the UFC visits the O2 in July and has set himself the target of earning a title fight by the end of the year.
Conor McGregor will feature in a documentary tonight on RTE 2 at 9.30. 'The Notorious’ was filmed over six months and follows Conor’s journey from when he shot to overnight fame after his UFC debut in Stockholm through to his next fight and American debut in August 2013. The journey gives the audience an access-all-areas insight into the unique sub-culture of mixed martial arts and the roller coaster adrenaline ride of the UFC.
McGregor comes across as likeable and charismatic character and it's easy to see why he has built up a huge fan base in the world of UFC. Fighters like him are among the toughest athletes competing in sport but he knows he runs the risk of suffering a career-ending injury each time he enters the cage. For him, it's a risk worth taking and the rewards have the potential to change his life forever.
Twelve months ago Conor McGregor was on social welfare after he decided to pack in a plumbing apprenticeship. Despite pressure from his parents, his decision to set his sights on mixed martial arts seems to have paid off. The fast talking Dubliner is certainly one of the fittest athletes I have ever encountered. He spends up to eight hours a day in the gym, six times a week. He maintains that everything he does in life is geared towards improving himself as a fighter.