Conor McGregor has had a massive influence on the sport of mixed martial arts. Love him or hate him, that is absolutely unquestionable.
He made history as the first fighter to hold titles in two UFC divisions concurrently. He’s headlined multiple record-breaking pay-per-views. He’s become a bigger mainstream star than any mixed martial artist before him. He’s completely changed the pay grade in mixed martial arts, ushering in an era of multimillion-dollar paydays that were previously non-existent. He’s changed the way fighters promote themselves, both on the mic and on social media. He’s used his fame to launch other businesses outside the combat sports bubble…
The Irishman’s list of accomplishments and accolades stretches on and on, and many of his fellow fighters have attempted to mimic him in hopes of replicating his success.
Speaking in a recent video clip promoting his popular Proper No. Twelve Whiskey, Conor McGregor gave his take the way he’s influenced the sport and his fellow fighters.
“I feel proud,” he said of his influence on his peers. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, they say. All I can feel is pride in that.
“I’ve put in a lot of hard work in this business, in the fight business — in all my businesses, but in particularly the fight business. It’s a crazy, ruthless business. To be leaving a legacy, to have a solid legacy built in the sport, and to see it rub off on the young athletes coming up trying to make their name, it fills me with great pride, and I wish everyone well on their come-up.”
Conor McGregor continued, detailing one of his proudest moments of the last few years:
“One of the proudest moments for me recently was seeing that new UFC belt where they’ve got the Irish flag on the belt. That alone… I can’t put into words how that makes me feel and how proud that makes me feel. There was a time when there wasn’t even an Irishman in the UFC, it was almost laughed upon to suggest an Irishman could even get to the UFC, let alone register win, never mind a belt, never mind even contending. Now, through hard work, through focus, through a bullet proof mindset, a never say die attitude, the Irish flag on the UFC belt.”
How do you think Conor McGregor has affected the sport of MMA?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 5/31/2019.