McIlroy and McGregor high up on ESPN's most famous athletes in the world list

The Dublin fighter and the Down golfer are inside the top 50

Conor McGregor and Rory McIlroy have made ESPN's most famous athletes in the world list.

McIlroy is 17 places ahead of McGregor at number 20 while the Dublin MMA specialist comes in at number 37.

McGregor ranks ahead of the likes of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Jordan Spieth while McIlroy is ahead of the likes of Serena Williams, Luis Suarez and Floyd Mayweather.

The website lays out their criteria by saying, "It started off with a simple question: Who's the most famous athlete in the world? Ben Alamar, ESPN's director of sports analytics, devised a formula that combines salary and endorsements with social media following and Google search popularity to create the ESPN World Fame 100 rankings. The names might be familiar, but where the planet's biggest stars land on the list could surprise you."

Cristiano Ronaldo is number one followed by LeBron James, Lionel Messi, Neymar and Roger Federer.

In terms of peak moment, ESPN say of McGregor: "Thirteen seconds of mayhem. Punch, kick, punch. That's all it took for McGregor to win the UFC world featherweight crown last December, KO'ing Brazilian Jose Aldo, who'd not lost a bout for 11 years."

And Mcilroy: "When McIlroy won his first major in 2011, shooting a U.S. Open record 16 under at Congressional to win by eight shots, it was a gun-to-tape procession that out-Tigered the Tiger."

They also give us a breakdown of both McIlroy's and McGregor's earnings and presence on social media. 


  • Salary/winnings: $5M
  • Endorsements: $32M
  • Facebook likes: 1.1M
  • Twitter followers: 2.8M


  • Salary/winnings: $1M
  • Endorsements: $3M
  • Facebook likes: 3.4M
  • Twitter followers: 1.4M