5 Conor McGregor pre-UFC fights you need to watch

  • Conor McGregor is one of the wildest fighters the UFC ever had
  • But he had a whole career before the UFC many fans have never seen
  • Here are five of the best pre-UFC fights starring McGregor
Jul 9, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Conor McGregor reacts during weigh ins for UFC 264 at T-Mobile
Jul 9, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Conor McGregor reacts during weigh ins for UFC 264 at T-Mobile / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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Conor McGregor changed the MMA landscape for future generations in a big way. Whether you loved him or hated him during his prime with the UFC, there is something to be said about the confidence, skill, and raw emotion that made him the face of the sport.

The best thing about McGregor's UFC career is it's aging like fine wine. Considering how many fighters are getting spoon-fed opponents to grow their popularity, McGregor's doesn't look as bad, despite getting the same criticism at the time. Whether it was Denis Siver or short-notice Chad Mendes, McGregor had to silence the critics at every turn. As he foretold, he did just that against Jose Aldo and Eddie Alvarez.

What about his MMA career before the glitz and glamour? What made McGregor so popular on his way to the UFC?

He was already on the shortlist of talented European fighters on the come-up, but there was something about the young, feisty, showboating Irishman people loved.

Here's a look at the five best McGregor fights before he joined the UFC.

5. Conor McGregor vs. Kieran Campbell, last amateur fight

McGregor fought Kieran Campbell in his final amateur fight on Feb. 17, 2007. This fight was on the Irish regional scene in Dublin and you can see just how poised and ready McGregor is for the next level.

The ground work is limited in this one, but when you look at his footwork, confidence and timing, the talent is oozing. Everytime McGregor lands a left hand, Campbell was not only shaken, but gave up openings for follow-up shots. As always, McGregor took full advantage of those chances.

This fight is one of the first times McGregor's skill is on full display. The classic McGregor saying "timing beats speed, precision beats power" rings true in this fight, and for many fights to come. The confidence grows with every landed punch. Even in a moment where he could've gotten on top of his opponent, he had the poise and IQ to let him back up to keep landing on the feet.

McGregor was dominant and his striking skills were not ignored. The most obvious part about this fight, and the video, is that the Dublin crowd seems fully aware that they have a potential superstar brewing in front of them. They were not wrong.