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Mixed martial arts is considered by many as the fastest growing sport in the world, and love him or hate him, that is in large part down to the enigmatic figure of Connor McGregor.

Of his 9 headline Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fights so far, 5 of them rank inside the top 6 highest-selling UFC pay-per-view events of all time. His 13-second takedown of Jose Aldo is the quickest knockout in UFC history, he has the third highest UFC win percentage ever, and the third most title reigns of all time.

But not only is he a superstar within the ring, he’s also the best trash talker the world of combat sport has seen this century, and one of the best self-marketers ever. The number of people he has introduced into the sport this side of the Atlantic will be enormous, and without him, UFC simply wouldn’t be the behemoth that it is today. However, for those that love their MMA and UFC, there is a lot more to the sport than Conor McGregor.

A quick history lesson…

Martial Arts itself can be traced all the way back to the Bronze Age with gladiatorial combat becoming something of a regular occurrence under the Ancient Egyptians, and of course a few thousand years later the Romans built the legendary Colosseum which would become the world’s largest martial arts for many a century.

Mixed Martial Arts though, is a pretty modern creation. What we see in the Octagon now would’ve first been seen in 1920’s Brazilian circuses under the name, Vale Tudo, and that’s very much is seen as the precursor to MMA.

But the term Mixed Martial Arts, is not 30 years old. Coined in 1993, Mixed Martial Arts was first termed as such during the creation of Ultimate Fighting Championship, and though Bellator MMA, Absolute Championship Berkut, ONE Championship, Pancrase to name but a few still exist today, the UFC remains the dominant brand in the game.

In 2016 UFC was purchased by Zuffa for an insane $4.2 billion which came just after its blanket ban in New York state was lifted, and its PPV events now regularly receive over 1 million purchases.

In its 13-years UFC has enjoyed a meteoric rise. It’s not a surprise that many in boxing now look on with envious eyes.

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