Conor McGregor's greatest ever stroke is finally getting the recognition it deserves
On June 2011, Conor McGregor defeated Artur Sowinski in the Celtic Gladiator main event at the Heritage Hotel in Laois. Generous estimations give the crowd at just over 700.
At the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, on August 26, McGregor will make his professional boxing debut against undefeated multiple world champion superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. The gate receipts for the fight are expected to be in excess of $75m and pay-per-view numbers are on track to surpass 5 million.
Ever since McGregor went truly global, following his featherweight title successes in 2015, we have seen his trash-talking, fight-hyping and witnessed a supremely talented MMA fighter climb to the top of his game.
Still, the Dubliner's achievement of getting Mayweather Jr. out of retirement and into a boxing ring, with massive money guaranteed for both winner and loser, is his greatest stroke yet.
On SportsJOE Live, that achievement was recognised by former UFC star Aisling Daly and Irish boxer Kellie Harrington. Daly, who came up through the MMA ranks with McGregor at Straight Blast Gym, said:
"The massive thing for me, and it is one that has been overlooked a little bit, is that a man from Ireland, who has never had a professional boxing match in his life, has somehow managed to - through his MMA skills and mostly his verbal skill - talked himself into a fight with arguably the greatest boxer of all time.
"How impressive is that? That's absolutely fascinating... the ultimate blagger!"
From an idea that was roundly dismissed as pure, laughable fantasy, both McGregor and Mayweather have made it reality and, whatever way the fight goes, it is an event that will be spoken on for years to come. McGregor will put his 0-0 record on the line against 49-0 Mayweather and millions upon millions are hooked.
As for the fight itself, Daly feels McGregor's greatest weapon is his unstinting belief in himself and his abilities. She commented:
"I know Conor believes he has a chance in this fight because I know Conor and I know how his mind works. The self-belief that is going to get him through this fight is what has got him through his career.
"Like, he genuinely believed he was going to be a world champion before he was a world champion. Then he was a two-time champion with Cage Warriors and then he was a two-time champion for the UFC. In his mind, he genuinely believes he can do anything.
"That self-belief is unstoppable for Conor. And he definitely believes he has more than a chance for this fight - he knows he is winning."
The cookie crumbles this weekend is Las Vegas and fans will see which camp has, in the words of McGregor's coach John Kavanagh, has been living in one big delusion.
The fact that the fight is happening, though, is already a huge victory for the Dubliner. Just have the rematch closer to home - like the Heritage in Laois.
Uou can watch the full Mayweather vs. McGregor preview on SportsJOE Live here: