Nicknamed ‘The Notorious’, the mixed martial artist knocked out Brazilian José Aldo early yesterday after just 13 seconds, in a crushing victory in Las Vegas to become the UFC featherweight world champion.
McGregor not only likes to fight but also to talk and to taunt, with opponents often on the receiving end of his verbal jousts. Last July, he accused Aldo of running from a scheduled fight and, 24 hours before the Las Vegas bout, he was at it again, needling the then champion at an explosive pre-fight clash that almost ended in blows.
Perhaps it was all to do with tactics and McGregor is as smart as he is fit, aware that winning the mind game is essential to success. He is different to many other successful athletes, voicing supreme confidence in his own abilities, unlike the more restrained, modest winners we are used to.
McGregor may not be our most likeable world champion, but he is a is a ferocious phenomenon nonetheless.