Conor McGregor isn’t just known for his fluid movements in the cage, he’s also demonstrated cat-like reflexes outside of it.
He was even forced to show off his elite level defense when he was part of the crowd at UFC 184 in 2015.
The Irishman, who at this point was on the verge of superstardom, sat cageside to watch Ronda Rousey defend her bantamweight title against Cat Zingano.
An overzealous Zingano stormed the octagon before removing his cap and throwing it in the direction of McGregor, who deftly got out of the way and avoided an unnecessary blow to the face.
“There’s no beef, I hope not,” McGregor said with a laugh as he reacted to the incident in an interview with MMA Fighting afterwards.
“I love cats. I love women’s MMA. I’m a huge fan of all female athletes and Cat is one of the best of them.
“I slipped [the hat” he joked. “I saw it coming a mile away. I could’ve caught it but there was some lucky fans behind me so I said, ‘I’ll let them take the hat.’”
McGregor said he sensed Zingano was overeager during her ring walk and it resulted in him nearly taking a cap to the face and Zingano suffering the quickest title loss in UFC history when she was submitted by Rousey in just 14 seconds.
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McGregor went on to break that record later that year when he became the undisputed featherweight champion by knocking out Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds.
“It was funny because literally before it happened, I was thinking she needs to settle,” he said.
“Ronda [Rousey] in particular, judo, in particular, is about using your opponent’s momentum against them. This rush, it’s about using it against them and leveraging it and that’s exactly how it happened.
Days after her loss to Rousey, Zingano took to social media to joke about throwing her hat at McGregor.
“Conor McGregor sorry about the hat, I’m trying to do my part to help keep your reflexes sharp 😉 thanks for saying nice things about me champ!”
McGregor replied, “Haha thank you Cat! I still have the hat too haha!! Looking forward to the returning champion.
Zingano lost three of her next four UFC fights and was later kicked out of the UFC, before joining rival promotion Bellator.
The 39-year-old is currently riding a two-fight winning streak under the Bellator banner and is set to return to action against Pam Sorensen at Bellator 282 on June 24.
Meanwhile, McGregor has established himself as the biggest star in MMA history but has struggled with form in recent years, with just one win since 2016.
The 33-year-old is currently on his way back to full fitness after sustaining a fractured tibia and fibula at UFC 264 in July 2021.
McGregor, who is expected to return to action later this year at welterweight, has no shortage of options with potential fights against Kamaru Usman, Charles Oliveira, Michael Chandler, Nate Diaz and Dustin Poirier all apparently on the table.