Conor McGregor's journey from living off welfare to Forbes' highest-paid athlete


UFC star Conor McGregor can now safely say that he has achieved a life-long ambition to top the Forbes Athlete rich list, moving ahead of the likes of football star Cristiano Ronaldo and Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton.

This is a feat that is made all the more remarkable by the fact that the Irishman picked up his last welfare cheque of £188 just eight years ago.

Posting on his Instagram account, it was clear that the Irishman was clearly excited about being confirmed as the highest-paid athlete, as he posted: “Baby we did it!!

“Uimhir a Haon Thank you Forbes for recognising my role as an entrepreneur! It was a dream to lead this list with so many successful athletes! Onwards and upwards we go.”

Indeed, back in 2007, ‘The Notorious’ had just quit his apprenticeship as a plumber and was forced to sign on while focusing on his MMA training. In addition, during those early years of his career, McGregor was only making £100 a fight.

His ex-teammate and former UFC strawweight Aisling Daly said: “He had something in him — this obsession to get better, to make a different life. You have never seen anything like it.”

Despite setbacks early on in his career, McGregor persisted and went on to win featherweight and lightweight titles in Cage Warriors before making his UFC debut in Stockholm in 2013, where the Irishman defeated Marcus Brimage by first round TKO.


McGregor then went on to have a truly phenomenal impact in UFC, his best year being 2016 where he fought Nate Diaz twice and then produced an impressive display to defeat Eddie Alvarez.

‘Notorious’’ popularity, meanwhile, is clearly displayed as his bout with Khabib occupies top spot in the most bought pay-per-view fight in the company’s history at £2.4 million.

While his crossover encounter with boxing legend Floyd Mayweather in 2017 earned him roughly £60 million alone.

Remarkably, however, since 2016, McGregor has only won one fight and that was against Donald Cerrone in 2020, which lasted just 40 seconds.

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Where was Conor McGregor born?

The money he has made, though, is not exclusive just to the Octagon, but also through endorsement deals and business deals involving his Proper No Twelve Whiskey brand, where McGregor sold a major stake in it worth over £100 million.

So even if McGregor were to lose his upcoming trilogy encounter with Dustin Poirier in July, ‘The Notorious’ looks set to dominate the Forbes rich list for years to come.

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