For casual fans of Mixed Martial Arts, Conor McGrgeor is bigger than the UFC and bigger than the sport. In terms of profile and his level of stardom, he's probably approaching David Beckham at his peak. So if you could imagine a camera crew following Beckham around while he was still in the Manchester Utd youth team, all the way to the English captaincy, you wouldn't be a million miles away from Notorious.
McGregor is very much a millennial superstar; throughout the documentary, we see the Crumlin native stop and take selfies, capture training moments etc, to share on his staggering social media. He's also been followed around by multiple film crews since before his UFC debut, 4 plus years ago - including this same crew for an RTE series - and the UFC embedded team, who document main event fighters during fight week. So the task here for the filmmakers wasn't easy; they have so much footage, but how do they give fans something they haven't already seen, while pleasing casual fans or even entertaining detractors?
Well, by starting from pretty much the beginning. Showing footage of McGregor's first fight, knocking out an opponent, then brashly celebrating in the ring after, resulting in a scolding from his coach, John Kavanagh. 'We don't celebrate like that here after an opponent has been hurt' Kavanagh tells the young fighter, having called him up to his tiny office in the days when MMA was still a scary, fringe sport in Ireland. Kavanagh is a perpetually calming presence in the film; while carnage is going on around McGregor, come fight time the SBG man is quietly in his ear, giving clear instruction alongside striking coach, Owen Roddy and training partner Artem Lobov.
As for the stuff fans may not have seen before, there's a huge focus on the first Jose Aldo fight, which ultimately became the Chad Mendes fight after Aldo broke a rib. McGregor had a horrific camp in terms of injuries and for the first time we see the stress in the double world champion's face, but also the determination not to let the thousands of Irish fans down who had likely ramraided their local Credit Union to support their hero in Vegas. While the moment McGregor is told the fight is off (after a global press tour) by Dana White is miraculously caught on camera.
We then see McGregor taste defeat and ultimately avenge his first UFC loss to Nate Diaz as the behind the scenes bottle-throwing incident is brought into focus - a member of the Diaz team striking McGregor's girlfriend Dee Devlin, with a bottle during a scuffle making it more personal than business for the first time.
If one thing is clear from this slickly put together doc, it's that there is zero put on about Conor McGregor. He has been like this since day 1, a spotty teenager saying he was going to take over the UFC. He's cocky, he's articulate, he's talented, he's incredibly hard-working... he doesn't always think about what he's saying until after it comes out of his mouth - it's the lack of hesitation with the latter that has hugely aided his success, but also caused sporadic controversy.
Non-fans will not be won over. This is a what ya see, is what you get superstar profiled with some genuinely enlighting moments around his fight camps. Casual fans and hard-core MMA nuts might just be enthralled, despite knowing the outcome.