Little more than a year ago in Las Vegas, Conor McGregor banked $100m (£76m) to co-star in a pay-per-view sporting event he had little chance of winning.

The biggest pay day of his career was served up in a boxing ring, against Floyd Mayweather, in what was always going to be win-win for the mixed martial artist.

In making his boxing debut against one of the greatest pugilists of a generation, there was no pressure on the shoulders of a man who states that the sport is one fifth of his fighting arsenal.

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Ultimately, the event proved he had no business being in the ring with ‘Money’, but that doesn’t mean it was a failure for the Irishman. Far from it.

McGregor, with the swagger and bravado of a true showman, more than held his own in the multi-city media tour before the fight. And he showed heart and determination to survive 10 rounds before finally being stopped on his feet. Mission accomplished.

In defeat, the 30-year-old became a truly global personality.

This weekend he returns to the scene of the heist – the T-Mobile Arena. However, this time he’s not armed with the same royal flush. On Saturday night he finds himself armed with a pair of aces only – clenched in either fist.

While McGregor was away getting rocked from pillar to post in the boxing ring, Saturday’s opponent, Khabib Nurmagomedov, was extending his unbeaten record and picking up the lightweight title belt the Irishman had left behind.

The 30-year-old Russian’s perfect run of 25 straight wins is one of the greatest achievements in MMA history, which perhaps makes him the toughest opponent for McGregor to return against.

-BBC

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