Lee Murray only had one fight in the UFC but he might go down as one of the most notorious fighters to ever compete inside the Octagon.
After first bursting on the scene thanks to a street fight where he knocked out former UFC champion Tito Ortiz, Murray was already one of the most talked about fighters to join the roster when he made his debut back in 2004.
Murray won his lone fight in the UFC with a first round submission over Jorge Rivera but visa issues and trouble with law enforcement in his native England prevented him from ever fighting in the promotion again.
It’s now been nearly 14 years since Murray last competed in mixed martial arts, but his name remained in the headlines long after he was done fighting thanks to his alleged role masterminding the biggest cash heist in British history.
Now Murray is serving out a 25-year prison sentence in Morrocco where he’s already attempted one escape but still manages to keep up with the sport of MMA during his down time.
Considering Murray’s rather notorious history in both fighting and living life outside the law, it’s easy to understand why one of the most outspoken athletes in MMA history had quite a lot to say when asked about current UFC superstar Conor McGregor.
“He has made a great impact. There can be no hiding from the fact he has done a good job and helped a great deal with the growth of the sport. Having said that, I don’t think he has done any more than I would have done,” Murray told Bloody Elbow recently.
“When I see him turning up to a fight wearing a white mink coat with tags hanging off it, looking like (“Eastenders” character) Pat Butcher on a night out down the Queen Vic, I would have to say no, he isn’t the kind of champion I would have been. And you definitely wouldn’t catch me with Tony the Tiger and King Kong tattooed on my chest, either. You have never seen the champion I would have been. Conor can dream of being like me, but that’s what it would be – a dream. He could never be as confident as me, have balls the size of mine, or have the skills or power I have. He can pretend to be me, but you will never see another me. Period.”
While McGregor seems to carry a brash attitude towards any fighter who might eventually stand in his way — including past altercations with Khabib Nurmagomedov as well as welterweight champion Tyron Woodley — Murray is quite confident the former two-division UFC champion would keep his calm if they ever came face-to-face.
“There is no one in the UFC as fearless or ruthless as me. I go to limits others wouldn’t dream of. Where they end, I’m just beginning. People know my words come directly from my heart and I’m a man to be taken seriously. I am the real ‘Notorious’. There is no one in MMA more notorious than me. I heard there was an article online titled, ‘The real notorious one before Conor McGregor,’ and it’s about me. Everyone who knows me knows I am the real ‘Notorious’.
“Besides, what is he notorious for? What has he done to earn that name apart from throw a few water bottles and wear a bad suit? The combination of the bad suit and the ginger hair makes him look more like Krusty the Clown than notorious. I was born notorious. When I was sixteen years old and in prison, fighting in the prison yard, he was doing his paper round, being tucked in at night by his mummy and daddy. I would have his belt and his name, all in the same night.”