Plot: A lot of mixed martial artists have had rapid ascensions into the elite ranks, but few were as meteoric and memorable as Conor McGregor. After some remarkable wins and a tidal wave of charismatic self promotion, McGregor would have a chance to back up his swagger in the UFC. Of course, we all know he roses to that challenge in epic fashion and had would have a legendary showdown with Jose Aldo, who hadn’t been defeated in over a decade. This fight would launch more hype than perhaps any other in MMA history, with god tier trash talk and sky high expectations, as McGregor tormented Aldo and played mind games on a wild, over the top level. In Conor McGregor: Notorious, we are taken inside McGregor’s world as he prepares for Aldo and in the process, learn more about this man and his life.
Entertainment Value: If you’re a fan of Conor McGregor, then you’ll likely have a blast watching Notorious, as it shows McGregor in all his splendor and has a lot of his more infamous moments. But if you’re not a fan of his or you’re not familiar with him, this piece won’t have the same impact. As you’d expect from a promotional master like McGregor, Notorious is essentially a feature length commercial for the brash fighter and his brand. He serves as executive producer and the movie tends to feel more like a marketing tool than a typical documentary. This is because there’s little in terms of conflicting viewpoints, aside from the official UFC interviews with his opponents, so it is a very one sided take on his persona. The movie shows him dealing with potential injuries and in the wake of a defeat, but it is really just an advertisement for how awesome McGregor is. So if you’re a fan, then you will likely delight in this love letter to the charismatic fighter, but non fans and those just getting to know about him won’t have a lot here to lean on.
A little time is spent on his early days as a fighter, but I wish more of Notorious was devoted to his rise, rather than the spoils of his success. The hunger in McGregor is obvious, but more insight into his younger days, his introduction to MMA, and pre UFC battles would have been great here. I think most of the insights provided about his UFC run are well worn by this point, so those early days could have really opened up some new doors and painted a more vivid portrait. You can also tell Conor and Dee have an intense, super close relationship, but the movie spends very little time on that aspect, just a quick story about how the two first met. Her devotion to him and belief in him seems to be a huge part of his life, so I don’t know why this, or more personal content in general, didn’t make the cut. Even so, this is a well made piece that does what it sets out to do, show McGregor in all his glory and highlight his incredible accomplishments in the UFC. Fans of MMA will appreciate the behind the curtain elements, as well as the inside look at the training and interactions with UFC officials. This might be a commercial for McGregor, but it is a good one.