Conor McGregor - The UFC Star's Top 5 Fights Ranked

Published on 15 November 2023 at 16:00

As the Irish UFC Icon eyes his return to the octagon, it’s time to wind back the clock and rank his top five most entertaining bouts to date. 

Conor McGregor is widely considered as the blueprint for what makes a successful UFC star. From ‘the gift of the gab’ to his polarizing attitude and overwhelmingly sharp martial arts, McGregor has been crucial in the development of the modern-day combat sports resurgence. In anticipation of his long-awaited return to the Octagon in April, it’s ripe time to retrospectively rank five of his most entertaining previous fights within MMA. 

5. Conor McGregor vs Chad Mendes

Perhaps the toughest test for McGregor in his rise to glory, this bout was nothing short of legendary. With a victory granting The Notorious’ first chance at a featherweight title shot, defeating Chad Mendes was never going to be an easy task. Facing off as the main event for UFC 189, McGregor won the bout, but not without being tested by Mendes. 


Providing early difficulty for McGregor, Chad Mendes drew blood from the Irishman within the first round after a flurry of vicious strikes and an early takedown. However, an exchange in the second round granted McGregor an early TKO, securing his title shot. 

4. Conor McGregor vs Dustin Poirier III

The fight to change the course of The Notorious’ career – the second rematch between he and Dustin following a KO win for The Diamond in Abu Dhabi. Seen as a return to his usual, high-PPV-selling self, McGregor once more tapped into the bad boy attitude that got him so far in the sport. While his bravado created one of the most entertaining build ups of his career, his confidence may have been too volatile to carry into the fight. 


Headlining UFC 264, McGregor’s third bout against Poirier was majorly anticipated right up until the bell rang. Starting the fight slightly out of order, Poirier managed to capitalize on what seemed to be recurring ring rust from the Irishman, securing a 10-8 round which ultimately ended in heartbreak for McGregor’s fans after a checked leg kick broke his leg. After a piteous post-fight display from McGregor, the aftermath of his injuries would see the Irishman unable to fight until April 2024. Despite the despair, UFC 264 lives in infamy – and rightly so. 

3. Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz II

Likely one of his most impressive performances, Conor McGregor’s rematch against Nate Diaz proved to live as one of the greatest grudge matches since the UFC began. 


Diaz, the proclaimed Stockton gangster, was the victor of his first bout with McGregor back in UFC 196 via submission in the second round. Looking to avenge the loss, Conor was granted a rematch against Nate Diaz as the main event for UFC 202. The fight ended up being a visually stunning display of back-and-forth mixed martial arts, with both fighters drawing buckets of blood. Dragged out to the final bell, McGregor won the bout via decision. Pairing the buildup and the saga, McGregor vs Diaz 2 is regarded as one of the most entertaining UFC matches in history. 

2. Conor McGregor vs Jose Aldo

Perhaps the best moment of Conor McGregor’s career, this bout was certainly one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport. Defeating, let alone embarrassing Jose Aldo was deemed by many to be an impossible task for The Notorious. However, impossibility was never a limit on McGregor’s ability during his prime. 


Using the buildup to the fight as an opportunity to perform complete mental warfare, Aldo’s verbal abuse distributed by Conor proved to be a contributing factor to his loss against the challenger, providing fans with plenty of memorable moments to look back on. From press conferences to interviews, the UFC provided fans with one of the most entertaining events in the history of the company.  


Not much can be said for the fight, which ended after a seven second knockout following a swift left hand from McGregor. A beautiful moment to watch, this shocking upset was McGregor’s first time wearing the UFC belt – becoming the official featherweight champion. 

1. Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov

Iconic, dark and unforgettable are all words that can be used to describe McGregor vs Khabib. One of the most ruthless, merciless and cold-blooded rivalries in the company's history, the long-awaited bout between the two was the most successful PPV event in UFC history.  


Built on the foundations of a long-standing rivalry between the two, the social media back and forth coupled with the extremely dark prefight press conference created McGregor’s most anticipated fight. Serving as the main event of UFC 229, the bout kicked off in Madison Square Garden. Suffering a stand up and wrestling game which was too much for the Irishman to handle, McGregor ultimately was defeated via submission in the fourth round. 


Despite the fight being called and a winner being declared, a massive post-fight altercation unfolded which saw Khabib Nurmagomedov jump into McGregor’s corner, resulting in a brawl between the two teams inside and outside of the octagon. Easily the most famous fight of McGregor's career, the UFC may never see a fight generate such hype again. 


If all goes to plan, Conor McGregor’s return to face Michael Chandler in April will certainly be one to watch – and fans will gather from all over the world to see The Notorious brace the octagon once more. 

Written by Oisin O'Sullivan

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