Today, Conor McGregor is the undisputed box office king of MMA.
He’s the highest draw the industry has ever seen and that’s because not only is he a sensational talker who is intent on rattling every opponent he meets, but he often delivers in the octagon, too.
Conor McGregor is still a box office superstar
When he met Jose Aldo for the featherweight title on December 12, 2015, it was the perfect cocktail of McGregor’s appeal that turned him into a global superstar.
After making Aldo’s -a man who had held the featherweight title for nearly five years and had seven successful title defences under the UFC banner – life hell during a promotional world tour, McGregor then knocked him out cold in 13 seconds, even if McGregor contests it was 12.
So how did the Irishman do it? McGregor and Aldo were originally meant to lock horns at UFC 189 in July 2015, but a rib injury to Aldo meant the Brazilian had to pull out.
Aldo hated McGregor touching his belt
The pair had already undergone a media world tour where McGregor destroyed Aldo at every turn, wearing down the veteran Brazilian. But Aldo pulling out of the fight was all the ammunition McGregor would ever need.
With Aldo out, it paved the way for McGregor to fight and defeat Chad Mendes for the interim title instead.
The aforementioned media tour that UFC embarked on was their most expensive media tour ever at that point when they thought Aldo was going to fight   which spanned 12 days, eight cities and five countries, including Aldos home of Brazil.
McGregor actually had the balls to say: If this was a different time, I would invade his favelas on horseback and kill anyone that was not fit to work.
McGregor tore up a picture of Aldo in front of his own adoring fans and proceeded to put the remains in his mouth before spitting it out and saying “tell him I’m coming!”
He also threw darts at a picture of Aldo, he threw insults at Aldo in his native language of Portuguese with insults like ‘p****’ and telling him ‘you’re going to die’ during a face-off.
Things turned up a notch when McGregor stole Aldo’s featherweight title from a powerless UFC employee and proceeded to taunt him with it through a glass panel – that’s when Aldo appeared to be the most broken.
He looked exhausted with the games, realising that McGregor was never going to stop and his energy to insult was relentless. Aldo’s only answer was ‘he’s crazy.’
Then, in Dublin, after Aldo suggested he was the king of the city and he had brought the sun with him, McGregor robbed his title once more, this time right in front of Aldo.
The Brazilian shot up out of his seat and desperately wanted it back and told McGregor ‘you’re an a**hole, you f****** p****’ and ‘go f*** yourself.’
Jose Aldo was exhausted by the mind games
During TV appearances, McGregor would touch Aldo when the Brazilian wasn’t looking and then when he had his attention, he’d mouth ‘p****’ and other insults. McGregor also told Aldo’s translator to tell him ‘I am his daddy’ at which point he’d invite Aldo to sit on his lap.
Aldo, in a rare combative rebuttal, suggested Chad Mendes was beating McGregor before he was stopped in their interim fight and The Notorious would tell Aldo at a press conference Mendes rearranged his face and Aldo hasn’t been the same since.
McGregor said he was genuinely worried about Aldo – the Irishman was trying a new tact since he felt his previous mind games had caused Aldo to run off from their first time – and then he said ‘I love you. I love you like my b****.’
At an open workout, McGregor revealed how he had meticulously planned to get under Aldo’s skin heading into the fight.
Conor McGregor shocked the world in 13 seconds against Jose Aldo, but practise made perfect
“They are done with the game. I am only on my way in, so I knew his mind was beat throughout that world tour. I knew he would have flown straight back to Brazil and went heavy, heavy at it.
“Heavy rounds, heavy training. Having the whole of Brazil on his back. The pressure on him to beat this loud-mouth Irish kid. Heavy, heavy rounds. The body breaks.
“The world tour was just a combination of me looking at him dead in the eye and telling him what was gonna happen to him. I knew he does not speak English, so I spoke in his native tongue in Rio de Janeiro and told him he will die. And then that was it.
“I knew his body was tired. I knew his mind was drained. He’s on his way out of the game. All you gotta do is look. He’s looking for his exit.”
Aldo came forward in the fight immediately and stood in front of McGregor and just seconds later, he was knocked out.
Since facing McGregor, Aldo has fought eight times but only won three of those fights. Prior to McGregor, he had only lost once in 26 outings.
Conor McGregor was an expert at pushing Jose Aldo’s buttons and the champion didn’t even speak English!
Further proof of Aldo’s head loss came when he declined the chance to face McGregor in a rematch for his belt.
“The fight I turned down, I was traveling and doing charity work,” Aldo said.
“After being the champion for so long, I deserve the respect of having a fight set and not fighting on one week’s notice. I’m not a guy who just fills in to save an event. I was the champion for a long time.”
Aldo said he never expected to lose the McGregor fight and he was totally confident heading into it. But, once again, it seems McGregor’s mind games paid off.
We never expect to lose – and lose like that. Its a sport and its 50-50, of course, it could happen one day. As long as were fighting, losing is a possibility. But I was so confident in my head going into this fight. explains Aldo.
Conor McGregor tormented Jose Aldo every step of the way on their world tour
For everything that was said and everything that was going on. My team and I were positive that we would get there and defeat him. And thats not what happened, says Aldo referring to the buildup of the fight. ”
McGregor is now the proud owner of six of the top seven highest bought pay-per-views in UFC history and no matter who he fights, it’s going to be big business and likely a record breaker for the UFC.
But one could argue McGregor’s performances in the build up to facing Aldo and the actual extremely brief fight with the Brazilian really cemented him as a superstar.
For Aldo, it’s been downhill ever since.