The Irishman has transcended the sport. Becoming one of the biggest stars in not only the sport of MMA but in the whole sporting world. As it’s his birthday we thought it would only be fitting to start our Throwback Thursday feature with the time Conor McGregor became Cage Warriors double champion.
Cage Warriors Run
Conor started his Cage Warriors career in 2010 at CW 39: The Uprising. He lost his debut to future UFC star and fellow Irishman Joe Duffy. After bouncing back with a four-fight winning streak outside the promotion. Which saw him finish all four opponents with strikes, one of which took him four seconds to do. He re-entered the promotion as a completely new fighter.
Now 8-2 as a professional, McGregor returned to the promotion with a spectacular TKO finish at CW: Fight Night 2. Reintroducing himself to the fans as a force to be reckoned with and a future contender. Bouncing between featherweight and lightweight, his next outing was at featherweight. Once again he produced the goods, flatlining Steve O’Keefe with a vicious elbow at CW 45.
Off the back of two spectacular finishes inside the promotion. As well as a six-fight finishing streak all told. It was time for Conor to challenge for his first title in June. It took place at Cage Warriors 47 when he fought Dave Hill in Dublin. Coming into this fight the narrative was clear. Conor the knockout artist against Dave the submission specialist.
The fight started as many expected, Conor came out fast but Hill quickly shot for the takedown. Every time Dave tried to score the takedown McGregor would sprawl or bounce right back up. As the round went on Conor began to land more frequently. Right near the end of the first he wobbled Hill, got mount then took his back. With mere seconds on the clock, McGregor had a rear naked choke locked in. Five more seconds would have seen the fight ended there and then.
The second started like the end of the first. As Conor pushed the pace and landed a big head kick to wobble Hill. Once again taking mount. Dave did well to control from the bottom. However, the constant submission attempts and ground and pound finally wore away at his defence. At 4:10 into the second round, Conor McGregor locked in a rear naked choke and got the submission win earning his first belt.
Now the 145-pound champion, Conor wasn’t waiting around. In December that year, he jumped back up to lightweight and straight into the fire. Challenging for his second belt in as many fights. Cage Warriors 51 saw Conor McGregor Challenge Ivan Buchinger for the vacant 155 straps, once again in Dublin.
After proving his doubters wrong last time out against a strong grappler. Conor wanted to win this belt in style and immortalise himself as a Cage Warriors legend winning and holding two belts simultaneously.
In what could be considered one of the greatest performances of his career. Conor put on a clinic. Landing shots at will, spinning kicks, knees, punches he was untouchable on the night. Showing all facets of his martial arts ability he even scored a takedown. At 3:40 into round number one. He countered Ivan with his now notorious left hand and dropped the champion stiff, claiming his second belt.
“The Notorious” Conor McGregor
Now both featherweight and lightweight champion Conor were on top of the world. It didn’t take long for the Irishman to attract worldwide attention. Just four months later he’d be competing in the UFC with a whole lot of hype. I’ll let you decide whether he delivered or not.
His championship double set McGregor on his path to greatness. Being an icon on the UK and Irish scene. He cemented his place in Cage Warriors history being the first double champion in their history. Everyone who knew of the young Irishman knew how high his ceiling was. To go on to achieve what he has still might have come as a surprise to some.
The biggest name the sport has seen, it was his time in Cage Warriors that helped him grow. Not only as a fighter but as a person as well. I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Looking at the first time Conor McGregor won a championship double.
Happy Birthday to “The Notorious”. How would you rate this on the list of his all-time achievements?
Featured image credits to Cage Warriors