In all walks of life there’s few things more inspiring than a real-life rags to riches story, and that’s certainly the case in the sport of mixed martial arts.
Truth be told, MMA is still a relatively young sport in the grand scheme of things, with the leading promotion, UFC only having been in existence for 23 years.
Back in those early days it wasn’t clear whether the UFC would still be around the next year, let alone provide a good living for the fighters putting it all on the line in the Octagon.
However, as the sport has grown in popularity we have begun to see more and more examples of stars who have been able to make their fortune fighting on the sport’s biggest stage.
At this stage the fighters you are about to read about are very much the exception to the rule, but their tales of escaping the clutches of poverty and the drudgery of dead-end jobs to find fame and fortune inside the Octagon provide a source of hope and inspiration for future generations that will aspire to follow in the footsteps of these MMA stars.
Conor McGregor’s meteoric rise to fame and fortune in the UFC is unquestionably one of the most remarkable stories in the history of combat sports.
Though he was a two-division champion in UK organization Cage Warriors when he made his UFC debut On Fuel TV in 2013, the reality was that the 24 year-old was broke and still living under his parents roof at the time.
”Just last week I was collecting the social welfare,” McGregor told the media after TKO’ing Marcus Brimage. “I was in there saying to them, ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m signed to the UFC. I don’t know. Blah, blah, blah.’ Now I suppose I’m just going to have to tell them, [expletive] off.”
’The Notorious’ has never looked back since, with his charismatic personality and knack for backing his words up with brutal action in the Octagon proving to be an irresistible combination that’s made him the biggest star the sport has ever seen.
Along the way he’s become the first UFC fighter ever to hold two belts at the same time, broken the UFC’s pay-per-view record twice in 2016, and become rich beyond his wildest dreams.
”“This is a $40 million year for me,” McGregor stated in September.
Not bad for a fighter at one stage almost gave up MMA to become a plumber!