While his recent form — 1-3 in his last four bouts, including back-to-back losses to Dustin Poirier in 2021 — may be a far cry from his peak years in the Octagon, McGregor is still widely regarded among the best to ever do it, with his achievement of becoming the UFC’s first-ever simultaneous champ-champ etched in the history books.
But while his success, wealth, and global prominence is insurmountable — at the very least in mixed martial arts, if not combat sports as a whole — McGregor’s notoriety isn’t solely through his in-cage endeavors.
As well as striking an elderly man in a Irish pub, being arrested multiple times, facing accusations of assault from an Italian DJ, and seemingly looking for a fight against multi-platinum recording artist Machine Gun Kelly, McGregor’s legal issues have also strayed into his UFC activities, with him launching a dolly at a bus carrying UFC fighters prior to UFC 223 in 2018.
That’s without even mentioning some of his controversial verbal attacks on José Aldo, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Dustin Poirier, which included some distasteful comments about family, religion, and a number of countries.
Despite all that, McGregor has always been able to bounce back from negative press, legal matters, and widely criticized trash talk with massive PPV appearances and fights. According to one reigning UFC champion, not everyone would be able to say the same in his shoes.
Usman: McGregor Shows There’s Different Rules For Different People
During a recent appearance on the I Am Athlete podcast, welterweight king Kamaru Usman assessed the different approaches he and McGregor when it came to acquiring their respective success and distinction in MMA.
Discussing McGregor’s habit of “crossing lines,” Usman suggested that not everyone could get away with the kind of antics the Irishman has been involved in. With that in mind, “The Nigerian Nightmare” firmly believes that the rulebook differs for certain athletes.
“There’s different rules. There’s different rules for different people,” Usman said. “McGregor can do the whole Floyd (Mayweather) — Floyd been done this. Floyd been wrote the playbook on all of it. McGregor comes out and does it, and guess what? He’s even bigger. It’s different rules for different people.
“I’ve traveled the world to where I understand it’s different rules for different people. Of course, color plays a role in it… You’re treated differently in different places, and that’s okay. I understand it. This is just the era and this is the time I’m living in. I’m not gonna cry over spilled milk, I’m gonna make the best out of it,” Usman added. “But I understand that, yeah, there’s certain things that you can and can’t do.”
Usman went on to explain why he maintains a respectful attitude and displays actions that are close to his morals, noting that he wouldn’t choose to sacrifice people’s respect in order to earn extra money.
“For me, the biggest thing is I’m not willing to jeopardize who I am just for that extra bag. What’s having $20 million in the bank when nobody respects you?” Usman asked. “You’re still gonna feel unhappy on the inside.”
While he’s certainly not as outspoken and brash as McGregor, it’s safe to say that Usman hasn’t struggled to reach the highs of the sport, having headlined PPV events in his last six outings.
Do you agree with Kamaru Usman? Is there a double standard in what some fighters are allowed to get away with?