“You can call me Mystic Mac, because I predict these things” is a quote that has stuck with Conor McGregor throughout his UFC career.
His unprecedentedly quick rise to the top of the UFC was partially fuelled by his unique ability to predict the exact result of his fights and, in some cases, even the nature in which they would play out before they ended.
McGregor has continued this practice in recent days, as he predicted on Tuesday night that he would defeat Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez within the first round at UFC 205.
However, while McGregor’s UFC career has been mostly filled with victories and knockouts, not all of the prophecies made by ‘Mystic Mac’ have come to be.
To see exactly what the extend of McGregor’s abilities to see into the future of his fights, we’ve taken a look back at his UFC career and the claims he has made before fights to see if this reputation is justified.
Please note that his first two UFC fights (a first round TKO victory against Marcus Brimmage and a unanimous decision victory over Max Holloway) are not included, as there is little to no video evidence to be found that gives McGregor’s predictions in these fights, although one could probably assume that he was confident that he would be victorious in both.
UFC Fight Night Dublin: Diego Brandao
Before McGregor even took part in his first UFC main event bout, it became common knowledge that ‘The Notorious’ vowed that he would bring the organisation back to Ireland.
This is exactly what happened when Conor McGregor took on former Ultimate Fighter winner Diego Brandao in the main event of the UFC’s return to Dublin in 2014.
In a night punctuated by Irish victories from Paddy Holohan, Cathal Pendred and Neil Seery, McGregor finished Brandao via TKO in a manner that was almost identical to how he predicted the bout would play out in an interview held days before the event.
“He’s gonna feel pressure like he never felt before. He’s gonna be on the back foot… he’ll have his back against the fence from the bell and I’m gonna press him and press him and crack him with shot’s he’s never felt.
“Then, ultimately he will crumble and I don’t think he’ll get out of the first round.”
UFC 178: Dustin Poirier
McGregor’s first fight in Las Vegas, on the main card of UFC 178, was the first time we truly saw him engage in verbal warfare, as he and his opponent Dustin Poirier frequently went back and forth in the lead up to their bout.
The increased media attention gave the Irishman the platform to continue making prophetic claims about the upcoming fight, which lead to another detailed claim into how it would play out at a UFC 178 media day.
“I’m gonna crack him with a jab, he’s going to wobble and I’m going to put him away early. It’s gonna be a first round KO. Mark my words.”
The fight played out just as McGregor foresaw, as he landed heavy jabs on Poirier before eventually finishing the fight just one minute and forty-six seconds into the fight.
UFC Fight Night 59: Dennis Siver
At this stage, McGregor’s dominance inside the octagon and his bravado outside it led to him headlining the UFC’s return to Boston in January 2015.
He would take on experienced featherweight Dennis Siver in the main event. While many including McGregor believed the fight wouldn’t last long given the apparent skill difference between them, he would underestimate the durability of his German opponent in his pre-fight prediction given during an interview at UFC 182.
“I have run through some scenarios, and I cannot see him escaping the first two minutes. He is a seasoned veteran, he is a kickboxing expert, a taekwondo expert, and he is my most experienced competitor that I will have faced. But I feel that under two minutes it will take me to dispatch him.”
The fight would turn out to be a mostly one-sided encounter but McGregor failed to finish Siver as quickly as he thought.
Siver would make it into the second round before he was finished with a barrage of ground and pound. It was the first time McGregor failed to follow up on his first round KO prediction, although he would backtrack and insist he meant “two rounds”, not two minutes.
UFC 189: Chad Mendes
Looking back at the incredible levels of hype and media coverage both before and after McGregor’s interim featherweight championship bout with Chad Mendes, conflicting claims appear to be have made by ‘Mystic Mac’.
Mendes replaced Jose Aldo in the main event of UFC 189 eleven days before the event, but as McGregor began to verbally chastise the American wrestler, he claimed that his prediction had not changed.
“I feel the two of them are similar. I feel four minutes of the first round. Like I said, the opponent is an illusion. The shots I have visualised landing on Jose, I visualise landing on Chad also. I feel the outcome will be the same. Four minutes of the first round, Chad will be unconscious.”
After being taken down in both the first and second round of their fight, it wasn’t until the last thirty seconds of the second round before McGregor landed the shots that would finish Mendes.
Based on his earlier claims, it would appear that ‘Mystic Mac’ failed to predict the correct around for the second time in a row but Dana White made a contradictory claim saying that McGregor actually tried to make a $3 million bet with the UFC president that he would win in the second round.
“You want to know how confident this kid is? I can’t even believe I’m going to say this, but, he told Lorenzo and I the other day ‘I’ll bet you $3 million I knock him out in the second round”, White said in an interview on the Jim Rome show days after the bout.
UFC 194: Jose Aldo
In what was arguably the most historic and shocking KO in UFC history, you would argue that no one could have predicted Conor McGregor KO’ing UFC Featherweight champion and then Pound-for-Pound #1 Jose Aldo in 13 seconds.
Only Conor McGregor constantly claimed in the drawn-out build up to their encounter that he would dispatch of the long-time champion in the first round.
Not only that, but ‘The Notorious’ was able to correctly describe the exact manner in which he would do so before the fight, as MMA journalist Robin Black reminded him at the UFC 194 post fight press conference of exactly what he had said.
“I felt when we stared down, I felt his right hand twitching which was a subtle tell for me. He is ready to unload that right hand and I feel that could be a downfall for him. If he lets that right hand go, I will not be there. I simply enter the way I enter and that will be enough that they even overextend or shrink away from me. Either way that is not good for him.”
UFC 196 & 202: Nate Diaz
By this stage, his incredible knockout of Jose Aldo had all but cemented his reputation as ‘Mystic Mac’. Because of this, few doubted the featherweight champion when he claimed that he would dispatch his next opponent, Nate Diaz, in the first round.
“He’ll be too slow in there. His speed will stifle him. His soft body and his lack of preparation, he will not be able to handle the ferocity… He will be KO’d inside the first round,” McGregor said at a pre-fight press conference.
Fighting at 170lbs for the first time in his career, ‘The Notorious’ underestimated the durability of his larger opponent though, leading to Diaz hurting a gassed McGregor on the feet before submitting him on the ground in the second round.
Eager to avenge his only UFC loss, a rematch between the two would be quickly set at the same weight limit of 170lbs.
In what is the forerunner for 2016’s fight of the year, McGregor and Diaz would battle a five-round war with McGregor coming out victorious via split decision.
While he implemented a more intelligent game plan, knocking Diaz down three times in the process, McGregor once again is seen to have given an overly optimistic prediction in the lead up to the fight.
“I’m just going to be a lot more prepared for a man who can stay in there with me, but even still, I struggle to give him past round three. If I was to make a prediction, which I will right now, I believe I will repay the favour and KO him inside the second round.”
Given the freakishly accurate way in which McGregor has predicted fights would transpire, the ‘Mystic Mac’ moniker is well deserved.
However, given his overconfidence at times to insist he will finish hardened opponents in the first round, fans must always be wary of his claims.
Because of this, fight fans around the world will be anxiously waiting to see if ‘Mystic Mac’ has correctly foreseen another first round KO when he takes on Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205.
Daniel O’Connor, Pundit Arena