Kazakh Conor McGregor ‘double’, Islam Badurgov, has explained the moment he first decided to become the Irish MMA megastar’s doppelganger after a simple street workout video.
Badurgov, 27, arrived from his native Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, to the famed Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, California, and began uploading videos getting pumped.
The outdoor workout advocate wowed online fitness fanatics with his muscle-busting open workout skills on the California beaches, but it wasn’t long before viewers recognized by his uncanny likeness to the Dublin fighter.
“When I first arrived I made a video in Santa Monica. I worked out on the beams wearing weight chains and shades and my beard was a little bigger and I was demonstrating workout drills on the bars. That video went viral on the internet.”
“After that people started to comment, ‘Conor’s double, Conor’s double, Conor’s double.’ I thought, ‘ok, we’ll believe that. Let’s give it a try,’ as they say. They tattooed me for six hours. From 7 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon I was getting tattoos done with makeup.
“Then I left in character, with Conor’s persona. By then everyone had already seen me from the balcony, and were shouting ‘Conor! Conor!’ In that moment I felt ‘that’s it, I’m Conor, you’ve got to go with it,’” he laughs.
Badurgov fully adopted the persona of McGregor, imitating his mannerisms and dress sense and even mastering the Irishman’s signature swagger and smile. The act successfully duped fans in the area.
The Kazakh wannabe made a video of him strolling through the streets accompanied by the text, “Conor, this prank is dedicated to your forthcoming fight. You are an impeccable fighter, and we believe in your triumph,” referring to McGregor’s bout with all-time boxing great Floyd Mayweather on Saturday in Las Vegas.
Fans were fooled and believed Badurgov to be the UFC superstar, although he confessed not staying longer than five minutes at any one location was one of the rules integral to keeping up the charade.
He has since been called “McDoppelganger”, owing to the prank.
“You can’t describe it. The moment is alive in the video. What you saw even in the video doesn’t convey the energy, how alive it was. Without mentioning the second part. That was the first part, you understand. But the reactions were really strong.”
The story about the first prank was eventually published on McGregor’s official website, The Mac Life, giving Badurgov huge publicity.
But Badurgov believes the fight between ‘The Notorious’ and ‘Money’ Mayweather will create a buzz much bigger than that achieved by his video.
“Speaking about him purely he right now is in training, he has an important fight. You can agree fully in the sense that he doesn’t have time for anybody. He’s on the verge of having lots of money, a big show, big performance, lots of people. Everyone is watching, the whole world are focusing their attention on that fight.”