Presented in partnership with Oddschecker.
With UFC 246 right around the corner, and the biggest name in fighting, Conor McGregor, set to step back into the octagon, the world once again has all eyes on Mixed Martial Arts.
The Jan. 18 fight against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone has all the typical fanfare that comes with a McGregor bout, filled with bright lights, trash talk and an abundance of media coverage.
It’s difficult to remember a time when McGregor wasn’t a household name, but what if you started backing him before he was known for his Billion Dollar Strut through the octagon?
What if you could have predicted his meteoric rise to stardom and capitalized on it? Would it have resulted in a big payout or have the UFC bookmakers always known McGregor’s talent?
To find out, let’s take a look at the history of McGregor’s odds throughout his time in MMA.
The first readily available lines for McGregor are from his Feb. 18, 2012 fight against Steve O’Keefe at Cage Warriors 45, a bout he won by first-round KO. Conor opened at -190 to win and his odds ended up shortening, closing at -205.
This is the first example of a common trend throughout Conor’s MMA career. Of the 14 fights with available data, Conor’s odds have shortened or stayed even from open to close in all but three. That means it has paid to put in any potential McGregor wagers when the odds are released, rather than waiting to get a bet in on the night of the fight.
Check out all the odds for the upcoming McGregor v Cowboy fight at Oddschecker, who display all the legalized sportsbooks in the US – meaning you can shop around to get the best value.
Another trend in the numbers is that throughout his career, Conor McGregor has almost always been expected to win, opening as the favorite in 12 of the 14 bouts. One of those two fights in which he started as a dog, a 2014 win over Dustin Poirier, saw his odds move from +190 at open to -276 by fight time. His 2018 fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov is the only one that McGregor entered the octagon as an underdog (+130).
Because McGregor has almost always been the odds-on favorite, at least in the period of his career that has available odds, betting consistently on him to win wouldn’t necessarily have made you rich.
If you were to have wagered $10 on McGregor to win all 14 of these fights using his opening odds, you’d come away with $58.00 in winnings. If you had done the same with his closing odds, you’d have netted even less, pulling in $34.88.
Unsure what to wager on? UFC expert Christian Broughton gives his best picks and predictions for UFC 246 HERE.
So just betting the same $10 on every McGregor fight wouldn’t necessarily break the bank, but what if you started with that same $10 on the O’Keefe fight and rolled it over for each subsequent matchup, betting your entire bankroll on every McGregor fight?
You’d eventually lose your bankroll when Nate Diaz beats McGregor via submission at UFC 196, but Conor begins this 14-fight period with a 10-match win streak. What would be its peak?
Using the opening odds as our benchmark, putting $10 on the O’Keefe (-190) fight wins you $5.26 and brings your bankroll to $15.26. Wins over Dave Hill (-260), Ivan Buchinger (-165), Marcus Brimage (-170), Max Holloway (-190) and Diego Brandão (-400) raises it to $102.84 before the Poirier fight. The opening odds of +190 in that bout, which Conor wins via first-round TKO, turns that $102.84 into $298.24, almost tripling your available money.
Conor goes on to beat Dennis Siver (-588) and Chad Mendes (-105) before a 13-second KO of Jose Aldo brings the bankroll to its peak of $1,059.84 ahead of the eventual loss to Diaz.
What started as a $10 wager would have increased to over $1,000. And in case you’re wondering just how important it is to make sure you get the best price when betting, that same process using the odds at close instead of the opening odds brings your bankroll to just $318.84, instead of the potential $1,059.84!
It seems as though sportsbooks have been aware of Conor’s potential for quite some time, favoring him in almost every professional fight in recent memory, and his upcoming meeting with Cowboy is no different. But if taking a look back at that recent history has proven one thing it’s that there is money to be made by shopping for the right price and knowing when/where to make your bets!