The 4 fighters who have defeated Conor McGregor
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Conor McGregor is undoubtedly the UFC’s biggest-ever star. The Notorious One has won two UFC titles in different weight classes, he’s sold millions of pay-per-views, and he’s beaten greats like Eddie Alvarez and Jose Aldo.
However, Conor McGregor has shown that even he isn’t invincible. The Irishman holds an MMA record of 22-4, with 10 of those wins – as well as two losses – coming in the UFC. That means, of course, that there are four fighters who have beaten Conor McGregor.
So who are these four fighters, how did they defeat Conor McGregor, and where are they now? Let’s take a look.
#1 Artemij Sitenkov – defeated Conor McGregor on June 28th, 2008
Conor McGregor made his professional debut in MMA way back in March 2008 and won his first fight, defeating Gary Morris by TKO at a show titled Cage of Truth 2. It took less than two months for McGregor to take his second fight – and pick up his second win – over Mo Taylor.
However, just eight weeks after his win over Taylor, Conor McGregor suffered his first professional loss. Returning to the Cage of Truth promotion, he was faced with Lithuanian native Artemij Sitenkov, a man with far more experience than him.
Sitenkov brought a record of 5-4 into the fight but had picked up all of his wins via submission and had even fought in Japan’s K-1 HERO’s promotion.
Essentially, the Lithuanian had too much savvy for McGregor in their fight. Within seconds of the fight starting, he pulled guard to avoid the Irishman’s striking power and instantly began to hunt for a submission.
Sure enough, Sitenkov was able to lock up a kneebar on McGregor’s left leg, and The Notorious One made a rookie mistake. He attempted to punch his way free, and that only allowed the Lithuanian to adjust his position, tighten the hold, and force Conor McGregor to tap out.
The win was part of Sitenkov’s best career run, as it was the second in a seven-fight winning streak. However, two straight losses brought that run to an end, and from there, Sitenkov became largely a journeyman figure on the UK and European regional scene.
2012 saw him pick up a win over future UFC fighter Neil Seery, but while he’s still actively fighting. Sitenkov is currently on a run of six straight losses – meaning any chance of a rematch with Conor McGregor seems slim.
#2 Joseph Duffy – defeated Conor McGregor on November 27th, 2010
Following his loss to Sitenkov, Conor McGregor made a quick return to action, fighting as a 155lber for the first time to take on Stephen Bailey. He won the fight by TKO but subsequently took nearly two years away from the sport, reportedly considering a different career path until his mother intervened.
McGregor returned in October 2010, defeating Connor Dillon by TKO, and wasted no time in signing up for another fight – this time in the Cage Warriors promotion – just seven weeks later. His opponent this time? A fighter named Joseph Duffy.
Duffy was 6-0 at that stage and was coming off a submission victory over future UFC fighter Norman Parke. And it was that submission game that led him to his win over Conor McGregor.
McGregor looked confident, but despite cutting Duffy open with a quick combination, he found himself grounded by his fellow Irishman. And from there, Duffy wasted no time in securing a full mount and then locking up an arm-triangle choke to force a tap out.
Duffy would follow the win with another three victories, setting himself up for a shot at the Cage Warriors Lightweight title. However, after losing that fight to Ivan Musardo, Irish Joe decided to step away from MMA, moving into professional boxing instead.
After putting together a 7-0 record in that sport, 2014 saw Duffy return. Two quick wins in Cage Warriors took his record to 12-1, and from there, the UFC signed him.
Reports at the time suggested that a rematch with Conor McGregor could be on the cards. But by that stage, The Notorious One had bigger fish to fry, as he continued to chase the UFC Featherweight crown.
Duffy won his first two UFC bouts before suffering his first loss at the hands of former McGregor victim Dustin Poirier, and from there, the hype around him largely vanished.
Irish Joe was able to pick up two more UFC wins but never really regained his traction. He retired from MMA earlier this year after suffering his third loss in a row, giving him a UFC record of 4-4 overall.
#3 Nate Diaz – defeated Conor McGregor on March 5th, 2016
Following his loss to Joseph Duffy, it would be another six years before Conor McGregor would taste defeat again. And it was during this period that he really rose to stardom, as another eight wins on the Irish scene led him to sign with the UFC in 2013.
McGregor defeated Marcus Brimage in his UFC debut, and from there, his fame skyrocketed. Even a severe knee injury in 2013 couldn’t derail him. And by 2015, he’d reeled off six UFC wins in a row and had dispatched top contender Chad Mendes to claim the interim UFC Featherweight title.
Conor McGregor’s title unification fight with Jose Aldo at UFC 194 that December was billed as one of the biggest in UFC history. And once again, the Irishman delivered. He knocked out Aldo in just 13 seconds, handing the Brazilian his first defeat in over a decade and taking his title in the process.
The Notorious One then set his sights on becoming a double champion, as he was matched with UFC Lightweight kingpin Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 196 in March 2016. However, fate would soon intervene.
RDA was forced out of the fight with a foot injury, and so on just 11 days’ notice, Nate Diaz stepped in to fight Conor McGregor instead.
At that stage, Diaz was seen as an ultra-tough veteran, albeit one who’d never quite reached the top of the UFC. If anything, despite a UFC record of 13-8, he was still very much in the shadow of his older brother Nick. That would all change at UFC 196.
Despite the fight taking place at 170lbs – two weight classes up from Conor McGregor’s usual 145lbs – the Irishman seemed confident that he’d knock Diaz out. But despite landing some huge punches and busting him open, Diaz lasted the first round.
And in the second round, it soon became clear that McGregor had punched himself out. And so when Diaz began to get the better of the standing exchanges, McGregor made the error of attempting a takedown – and soon found himself submitting to a rear-naked choke.
The fight largely changed Diaz’s career. UFC 196 drew 1.5 million pay-per-view buys, stunning insiders and prompting the UFC to set up a rematch just five months later. And although Conor McGregor came out on the right end of a tight decision, Diaz’s status as a mega-star was cemented when the show broke the UFC’s pay-per-view buyrate record.
Since then, though, Diaz has fought just twice. He took nearly three years away from the UFC following the second McGregor fight – essentially pricing himself out – but returned in 2019 to beat Anthony Pettis. That set him up for a BMF title fight with Jorge Masvidal, and after losing via a controversial doctor stoppage, he hasn’t returned since.
#4 Khabib Nurmagomedov – defeated Conor McGregor on October 6th, 2018
Following his win over Nate Diaz at UFC 202, Conor McGregor once again found himself in line to fight for the UFC Lightweight title. And this time, the fight came through. In the UFC’s New York debut, McGregor knocked out Eddie Alvarez to become the first man to hold two UFC titles simultaneously.
At the time, nobody could’ve known that the fight – which took place in November 2016 – would be McGregor’s last for two years. 2017 saw him abandon his UFC titles to head into professional boxing for a mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather.
And although McGregor was defeated by Money, his stock only rose in terms of international fame. By 2018 though, rumors of his UFC return had begun to circulate. Reports suggested he’d face the winner of a UFC Lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson.
Once again, fate intervened. Not only did an injury remove Ferguson from the picture, but Conor McGregor’s own wild behavior ended up escalating what was a mild Twitter feud with Nurmagomedov into the biggest rivalry in MMA history.
After Khabib apparently insulted McGregor’s training partner Artem Lobov, The Notorious One promptly flew to New York, along with his team, where the Russian was set to fight late replacement Al Iaquinta for the title.
McGregor attempted to confront him and ended up attacking a bus containing multiple UFC fighters. For a moment, at least, it looked like his UFC career was over. But sensing the potential money to be made, the promotion forgave the Irishman and finally matched him with Nurmagomedov at October 2018’s UFC 229.
The fight would be more one-sided than Conor McGregor would’ve hoped. He had no answer for Khabib’s takedowns and ground control and even found himself knocked down standing in the second round.
Eventually, The Eagle used a tight neck crank to force the Irishman to tap out for the fourth time in his career, ensuring he’d be recognized as the world’s best Lightweight. And despite a wild melee that erupted post-fight, McGregor has been unable to tie Khabib down to a rematch.
Instead, the Russian retired this October after submitting Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje – cementing his claim as possibly the greatest 155lbs fighter in MMA history.
Published 01 Dec 2020, 19:59 IST