One of the best promoters to ever grace combat sports. From the moment he took the mic in his first UFC post-fight you knew he was on another level. Funny, captivating, charismatic, entertaining.
Created a media storm through his self-promotion which the UFC immediately latched onto. Around this time the Fertitta’s we’re looking for an exit strategy and Conor was the icing on the cake. If they could keep his train rolling, the PPV numbers would soar and their sale price would skyrocket (which it did). They sold for $4 billion following Conor winning the title against Aldo and a record-breaking year of PPV sales.
Went the distance in his 2nd fight against a 23 year old Holloway (in Boston). Then fought Diego Brandao (in Ireland), a 25 year old Dustin, followed by a 36 year old Dennis Siver (in Boston). This granted him a title shot (which many disagreed with). Practically a hometown advantage in every fight and carefully selected opponents. Joe Silva knew exactly what he was doing and was trusted with protecting their prize asset.
Above average fighter. His biggest weapons are his early explosiveness and his ability to get into his opponent’s head. Notice how his toughest opponents always bring out his biggest trash talk/drama. Deep down he knew how good Khabib was, hence smashing up the bus. The antics against Diaz II and Dustin II also back this up.
The Cowboy/Aldo fights are examples of fights already being won before the bell rings. Some opponents can’t deal with the humiliation and limelight that surround a Conor fight. They either go into the Octagon angry to the point of frustration (or starstruck and grateful for the payday). Also, the energy in an arena for a Conor fight isn’t something most fighters are prepared for. Guys can easily crumble under the expectation.
Does terrible against fighters who can mentally side-step his circus. Diaz, Khabib and ‘Rematch Dustin’ being good examples.
Fought way below his natural weight for the peak of his achievements, which gave the impression that he was a lot more powerful/deadly than he actually was.
Below average cardio. Can see his confidence/ability fading in real-time. Expels a LOT of energy in the build-up to the fight which likely results in an adrenaline dump. Obviously had enough general fitness to hang in the ring with Mayweather (and go the distance against Diaz), but his cardio would definitely be considered one of his weakest attributes.
Driven beyond comprehension. Went from cashing welfare cheques in 2013 to topping Forbes richest athlete list in 2021. A drive, desire and commitment that cannot be overstated. Special mention for his rematch win against Diaz. A gutsy move that could have gone badly wrong. That was probably the most professionally focused Conor we’ve ever seen.
Money. Has enough to secure his entire bloodline… but clearly it’s not enough. Have to respect a man that has ‘everything’ but still feels the need to prove himself in a dangerous sport. People often peddle the idea that money has dampened his desire/ability. His busy/comfortable lifestyle could definitely play a part in his poor run, but it’s more likely to do with the quality of his opponents improving (physically and mentally) and fighting without a weight advantage.
Terrible person. You only have to scan the ‘Controversies’ section of his Wikipedia page to know what kind of a man Conor is.
What does the future hold? If he manages to make a strong comeback after the recent injury (and a solid opponent in Dustin), it could be his biggest achievement in the sport. However, his recent loss is most likely the beginning of the end.
Legacy. Will be remembered as the guy who brought the UFC into the mainstream and entertained millions. He’s a household name - and without him - you wonder where the organisation would be from a commercial standpoint. It’s not a stretch to say the UFC wouldn’t have sold for $4 billion without him. As a fighter, he’ll always think more of his own achievements than true MMA fans do. Exciting to watch; never boring, but lightyears away from being the best.