Announcer Bruce Buffer, voice of the UFC for over two decades, remembers a young Conor McGregor and how the early Notorious foresaw his own infamous future.
Now, the 30-year-old Irish MMA star and shameless self-promoter is a household name.
Whilst much of his repute is attributable to undoubted talent and the authority he has established over the featherweight and lightweight divisions, much of his notoriety is equally attributable to controversy outside of the Octagon.
Most recently, the extroverted fighter’s infamy has grown out of events surrounding UFC 229 back in October 2018; so far the most watched pay-per-view bout of all time.
In the lead up to the fight, McGregor’s trash talk against opponent Khabib Nurmagomedov plumbed unprecedented depths, resulting in the now infamous ‘bus incident’ in which McGregor was convicted for attacking a bus on which Nurmagomedov was riding.
McGregor was to lose this bout to Nurmagomedov, however, via submission by rear naked choke, and in the aftermath, emotions erupted with violence spilling out of the cage and into the surrounding crowd.
Although the full extent of action to be brought against the pair by the Nevada State Athletic Commission is unclear, severe penalties have already been applied.
But remembering the former two-division star’s more modest beginnings, Buffer spoke of McGregor’s early ambition and the mentality of the man when first establishing his name.
“I know him, I first met him when he was around 18 or 19,” Buffer told Express Sport.
“I was doing a show in Dublin and this young kid came up to me with no beard.
“He goes ‘my name is Conor McGregor, remember it! I am going to be champion some day and you are going to announce me.’
“Okay great, I never forgot that though.
“And then when I met him when he first came in the UFC I reminded him of that and he remembered it too.”
Buffer credits McGregor with helping to launch MMA into the mainstream and believes viewers - in their millions – want to watch McGregor, purely due to his entertainment factor.
“You have got to remember the intestinal fortitude that Conor has, that backstory and everything,” Buffer went on.
“Even with a couple of the negative things he has done recently, the bottom line is he has been a big boost to the sport.
“He is worldwide.”
Following Tenshin Nasukawa’s quick first-round loss to Floyd Mayweather on New Year’s Eve, McGregor is now seeking a mixed martial arts exhibition bout with the 20-year-old Japanese kick-boxer, who has apparently accepted, subject to his own strict rules.