Today marks the 8-year anniversary of the historic day that Conor McGregor made his UFC debut in Stockholm, Sweden.
It was the day that Conor McGregor proved to the MMA community that he was more than capable for the big UFC show and not only that, but that he could win in quick and devastating fashion. He proved that all the noise and hype coming through at the time of his UFC signing was not a fluke. He was there to get paid, takeover the game, and make his mark in the history books; and boy, did he start off with a bang!
“Conor doesn’t have money to pay for another flight”
Famously, Conor McGregor had picked up his last social welfare check just days prior to his debut of around $235 from the Irish government.
Here is a quote from John Kavanagh, his longtime coach, that described the last time McGregor would pick up his social welfare check.
“Dee [Devlin] drove me and him [Conor McGregor] to the airport. We had to stop off to collect social welfare on the way. He’d take pictures with people and chat with people, and I’m like, ‘We’re going to miss this flight for your UFC debut.’ And I don’t have money to pay for another flight. Conor doesn’t have money to pay for another flight.”
It’s crazy to think that at one point, McGregor didn’t even have enough money to pay for a flight considering he is one of the richest combat sport athletes today. Now he flies private jets and comes in a yacht to his fight week. And yes, you heard that correct. He arrived to Yas Island, Abu Dhabi on a gorgeous yacht when he fought Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 and then left on his merry way back on that luxurious massive boat. The man has money to burn today, and yet back in 2013, the man had to collect social welfare checks to make ends meet.
McGregor stepped in on the prelims of UFC on FUEL TV 9. The fight itself was emphatic. Marcus Brimage, who had the unfortunate task of welcoming the Irishman to the UFC, came out super aggressive and looked to land early with his fists. McGregor stayed calm under the pressure, using slick footwork to gauge the distance from the shorter man and used the front kick to knock the uber-aggressive Brimage back.
McGregor fought beautifully using rapid boxing combinations to wobble Brimage, then pivoting away from danger. The uppercut from McGregor was the money shot which wobbled Brimage few times before another quick uppercut-hook combination knocked down the American as McGregor, like a Tiger from above, pounced on his prey to finish him with some brutal ground and pounding.
The whole contest lasted 67 seconds and McGregor earned himself the win. Perhaps more vitally, though, the Irishman earned $16,000 for the win along with a $60,000 Knockout of the Night bonus.
“60 G’s baby,” McGregor exclaimed with glee in his post fight interview. It was time to say goodbye to social welfare checks or in McGregor’s words to “F*ck off” as he would express in the post-fight conference.
Conor McGregor would go on a legendary run in the UFC as he captured both the featherweight and lightweight belts to become the first ever simultaneous double champion in the UFC. Along the way, he became a world superstar, bringing new eyeballs to the UFC and forever change the sport of MMA.