As UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor sinks his teeth deeper into the world of combat sports, his recognition and popularity around the globe will continue to grow. This was never more evident in 2017 as “Notorious” attracted unfathomable interest from Internet users of all shapes and sizes.
According to a recent Google metrics study by Dana Rebecca, McGregor was the No. 1 searched athlete in 2017, beating out the likes of NFL superstar Tom Brady, NBA champion Lebron James, former UFC champion Ronda Rousey, and undefeated boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Remember, while McGregor did not compete inside of the Octagon in 2017, he was able to infiltrate the boxing world in order to take on Mayweather in a superfight for the ages. McGregor ended up losing the August boxing match via 10th-round TKO, but played a major role in pushing the event’s total pay-per-view buys to 4.3 million. The Irishman banked around $100 million for his efforts and further solidified himself as the biggest draw in combat sports today.
The other athletes on the list above are the best of the best in their sport, so for McGregor to come out on top it truly shows the global reach that mixed martial arts (MMA) has today. Fighting “Money” Mayweather certainly helped McGregor stick out in 2017, but his social media following and mainstream notoriety were already on the rise before his move into boxing this past summer.
While nothing is official, look for McGregor to re-enter the Octagon later this year and once again utilize his international superstar status to generate even more revenue for himself and UFC.