Little more than three years ago, Conor McGregor was borrowing money to travel to the gym. He was a two-weight world champion in Cage Warriors, but frankly scratching a living as a mixed martial artist over in Europe.

Today he’s one of the most high-profile and bankable stars in the sport, living in luxury hotel suites, dressing in the fi nest suits and flying around the world on private jets.

McGregor is a special kind of athlete, that’s something the world knows already. Not only does he talk the talk like nobody else, he walks the walk when he steps in the Octagon. And next up is the fight he’s talked about since he arrived in the UFC: the 145lb championship.

Planet MMA got up close and personal with both McGregor and champion José Aldo during their two-week press tour in March, but FO went one step further and spoke to the people that knew Conor long before he became Octagon royalty.

The McGregor family and Conor’s friends paint a portrait of the would-be champion ahead of July’s UFC 189 main event. From his school days through to his beginnings in martial arts, those inside his inner circle reveal the boy behind the man who would be king. Through exclusive never-seen-before childhood photos and stories of Conor’s Dublin upbringing, consultant editor Gareth A Davies gets to the heart of the Irishman’s rise from inner-city kid with a dream to a world title contender. This is ‘The Notorious’ you’ve never seen or heard of before.

Also in this issue, former welterweight champ Johny Hendricks reveals the changes he’s made in a bid to regain his title later this summer. New UFC strawweight champion Joanne Jedrzejczyk puts the rest of her division on notice, Mexico City’s own MMA punk rocker Augusto Montano reveals his career ambitions and McGregor’s head coach John Kavanagh discusses how a lifetime of martial arts set him up for ‘overnight’ success.

We also have some great features. The first examines how breakthroughs in the study of brain trauma could be about to change the face of contact sports forever, thanks in part to commitments from UFC and Bellator athletes. While in the aftermath of the latter promotion’s Kimbo vs. Ken main-event booking, we also look at seven of MMA’s most insane promotional missteps.

Our Performance section this issue begins with an article packed with hints and tips on how to overcome jet lag when fighting overseas. Plus, our five leading MMA technicians off er their latest and greatest moves in our Fight Manual.

We also host three more of the world’s leading coaches, who break down the heavyweight unification match between Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum.

Throw in some more interviews with Cathal Pendred, Steven Ray, Michelle Waterson and a guest column from Tecia Torres – along with all the usual news and reviews – and we think you’ll enjoy this edition as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

Also in this issue…

Tony Ferguson – The TUF 13 champion tells FO how his unbeaten run since 2012 is giving him the confidence to demand main-event fights.

Rob Font – The Boston 135lb’er waited patiently to get to the Octagon. Now he’s arrived he plans to climb to the top… Accompanied by the Bee Gees.

Cathal Pendred – While Conor McGregor may have made the biggest Irish waves, ‘The Punisher’ boasts an undefeated UFC record, and heads to Mexico City next.

Read all this and more inside the Conor McGregor issue of Fighters Only magazine – in stores now.