Conor McGregor is on his way toward achieving first-name-only status just like MJ and Kareem — albeit through actions that are in stark contrast to the aforementioned legends.
McGregor is unapologetically himself. His braggadocios attitude inside and outside of the octagon is what makes him a star. I’m reminded of the Irish legend of the Púca — often depicted as a shapeshifter — who can take on many forms to wreak night-time destruction. As a result, farmers would often leave a share of their harvest in an attempt to appease the spirit. UFC fans are seemingly always waiting to see Conor McGregor’s next form.
We’ve certainly seen McGregor perform at a high level during his UFC career. 2015 was when people really started noticing — buoyed by three straight “Performance of the Night” awards — in the lead up to clashes against Chad Mendes and José Aldo which earned him the UFC Featherweight Championship. From there, we saw a budding rivalry with Nate Diaz develop, and McGregor earning the distinction of becoming the first UFC fighter to hold titles in two different weight classes simultaneously. McGregor had it all in the UFC… until he didn’t.
While some might argue that McGregor’s decision to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a boxing match was a cash grab, it solidified the notion that nothing is out of the realm of possibility for the Irish pugilist. His wins are always magnified — punctuating his beatdowns with the trash talk of a seasoned showman. Even his losses come with a sense of flare. For as much brutality McGregor dishes out and absorbs, he feels much bigger than simply a fighter. He’s equal parts PT Barnum as he is Willie Pep — utilizing the perfect blend of self-promotion, with unorthodox ways of breaking an opponent down.
It seems rather appropriate that McGregor is a vital piece of the puzzle for Reebok’s brand strategy. The brand has been a key partner for the UFC since 2015 — helping transform the sport from a niche spectator sport — to a global phenomenon. As Reebok continues to use combat sports to their advantage, it comes as no surprise that McGregor is the focal point for their latest innovation.
When it was first introduced in 2010, Reebok’s ZigTech technology set a new standard for innovation, function, and disruptive design. Now, Reebok’s modern iteration, the Zig Kinetica, is built around a distinct zigzag-shaped, energy-return sole that channels and returns kinetic energy using a three-part system. This includes Floatride Fuel which helps deliver cushioning, a Zig Energy Shell which returns kinetic energy, and Zig Energy Bands, an outsole that expands and contracts like a rubber band to provide a spring-like response.
The Zig Kinetica is unique, well-rounded, and capable of maximizing one’s energy — much in the same way McGregor uses his massive fight toolbox to dispatch his opponents in the octagon. Most recently, he broke Donald Cerrone’s nose using a series of shoulder strikes before landing a head kick which ultimately led to a finish. To date, McGregor has used his unique skillset to earn 10 UFC bonuses for fight of the night, knockout of the night, and performance of the night. Just like a silhouette that is defiantly undefinable, McGregor fights in an abstract way.
For McGregor, fighting seems to be a way to express himself when words simply won’t work. While at times it may seem like the showman inside takes precedent, the 2020 version of Conor McGregor seems committed to letting his performance do all the talking.
“I absolutely love these, the grip, the stability,” McGregor said. “I feel the connection from the sole to the material. I’ve been around with Reebok a long time now, and each launch, the energy level is climbing. Now we are exploding.”
Conor’s McGregor’s connection to the Reebok Zig Kinetica is a partnership rooted in cohesion. Both Reebok and McGregor are aiming for unexpected excellence, and while it remains to be seen who McGregor’s next opponent is, it’s without a doubt that they will be getting the best version of Conor McGregor to date.