Conor McGregor has been named by Time Magazine as one of the world’s 100 most influential people for 2017 following his rapid rise to the top of the MMA world.
The Dubliner became the first two-division UFC champion after stopping Eddie Alvarez to claim his lightweight belt. He had held the featherweight crown since his 13-second defeat of Jose Aldo at UFC 194.
Despite taking a sabbatical of sorts from competing, he’s nevertheless eternally relevant with talks of a potential bout with Floyd Mayweather still rumbling.
He has a legion of followers, has left his rivals in his wake and holds more power in his sport than any other fighter. It’s unsurprising, then, that he has been named on Time’s prestigious list in the Pioneer category.
All those who made the list had tributes written about them by friends and former Hollywood superstar and California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, spoke in glowing terms about McGregor.
“Conor McGregor is more than a fighter, more than an athlete, more than a champion—although, as the first person in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship to hold titles in two weight divisions at once, he is clearly all of those things,
“Conor is also the rare personality who has become bigger than his sport. That lean, compact body must struggle to keep his enormous character inside.”
“Arnie”, who has long been a supporter of the Notorious One, continued:
“From the first time I met Conor, I knew he wasn’t the type of star you could box into one category. Since I’ve gotten to know him, I can tell you that what you see on the screen—the now familiar face of mixed martial arts—just scratches the surface. The Dublin native is razor-sharp, disciplined and charismatic. His energy is absolutely contagious, to the point where you almost start shouting in an Irish accent after 30 seconds of hearing that world-famous mouth.
“Conor has a fire in his belly that can’t be quenched with championship belts. There are no brakes that can stop his engine.”
The 28-year-old is one of just three sports personalities to make the list. NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who made headlines around the world in 2016 for protesting the oppression of black people in the US by sitting through the national anthem before games, is there alongside NBA demi-God LeBron James and Barcelona superstar Neymar.
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