Ireland’s Conor McGregor is best known for his exploits inside the octagon, being a two-weight former UFC champion. The 33-year-old from Crumlin in Dublin was once the biggest name in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and boasted of being much bigger than the UFC. Those claims certainly weren’t unfounded, but McGregor is now approaching the next stage of his life, and it’s likely his days as a fighter are limited. The man known simply as Notorious hasn’t yet announced his retirement from the sport, but, following a horror leg break and crushing defeat in his last fight, the writing is on the wall.
The leading online sportsbooks are currently offering odds on McGregor making a comeback in 2022, possibly facing old rival Dustin Poirier in a fourth bout as he looks to gain revenge and tie the score at two wins each. Fight fans are keeping their ear to the ground on any developments on that one, with McGregor promising his army of fans will be the first to know of any return to fighting.
The future’s bright
Even if McGregor decides not to return to MMA, his future is looking bright. The Irishman has already proven he is as effective in the world of business as he is in the octagon. Conor has a business model that combines his fame with a fantastic head for business and making money. It has been rumoured he has now made more cash from his dealings outside of mixed martial arts than he did from fighting. What’s more, there is more to come as he sets out plans to become champion of boosting his bank balance.
The next step in his career is to become the world’s highest-earning sports star, and he’s already well on his way to matching former boxing opponent Floyd Mayweather Jr. Conor already sits ahead of soccer stars, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, the two greatest names in their sport. That is despite MMA not being anywhere near as popular as soccer in any country. Last year, Forbes ranked McGregor among the top-earning sports stars, and he’s one of the few on the list who has more than one source of income, MMA and his interests outside of the fight game, including owning two pubs in Dublin.
Digging deeper into his finances away from fighting, Forbes published news that Conor earned almost 150 million euros from selling his majority stake in his whisky brand Proper 12, which has now changed hands. That stunning profit and the success of the whisky business relied on the fighter’s popularity and his fame, but that wasn’t the only reason it became such a success. The drink was rated as one of the best whiskeys on the market last year, with a growing fanbase worldwide.
From humble beginnings
It wasn’t always this way. Conor wasn’t born into money and didn’t make his wealth early in life. He started out from humble beginnings in the Republic of Ireland at a time when there was much trouble in the country. A keen soccer player in his youth, McGregor took up boxing at a local amateur club to help raise his confidence and to help him stand up to schoolyard bullies. It’s a familiar story the world over, but where his career took him since first lacing up the gloves is far from average.
As a young man, Conor trained as a plumber and had planned a profession as a full-time tradesperson, but the decision to pack up the tools and gamble on his mixed martial arts skills was one that helped change his life and the sports world. It may have been viewed as a risky decision by his family at the time, but with the benefit of hindsight, it was the smartest decision he could ever make.
Another gamble was the one to break away from UFC and use his old boxing skills to force a cross-discipline fight with Money Mayweather in the squared circle. He lost the fight with Floyd, but even in defeat, he won, banking a rumoured 116 million euros for that bout which was little more than a glorified sparring contest.
If McGregor’s career in combat sports and business has taught us anything, it’s that taking risks and gambles can pay off.
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