UFC interim featherweight world champion Conor McGregor (27) walks the talk. Cultured and classy, he’s a myth among men. A killer in a cage, the Irishman is affable outside and with a razor sharp tongue that makes him a news headline quote machine.
But what are the 10 essential facts you should know about the living legend from Dublin?
ps. at the end of the article remember to VOTE for the best fighter!
1. Who to respect?
Respect is something the 5 foot 9 inch fighter is accused of not having. But respect must be earned, not given, as Chad Mendes found out at UFC 189 when McGregor beat him inside two rounds for the featherweight belt at the MGM in Las Vegas on 11 July.
Hey you, McGregor, who do you think you are?
Does the mixed martial artist bust his chops ... or smile and applaud? After all, it’s 64-year-old fellow Irishman, Willie O’Toole, calling the champ out. Accepting a 'muscle up' challenge, McGregor, known as The Notorious 1, says of the pensioner: ‘he’s an absolute inspiration’.
2. Coach is a gorilla
Not seeking to undermine McGregor’s longtime coach, John Kavanagh, but the mixed martial artist puts his fighting skills down to studying the movement of animals. A guest on both Conan O’Brien and CNN, the Crumlin native said he studies animal movement to learn how to fight.
‘Movement is something that I am obsessed with… to watch animals in their natural habitat and how they hunt and prey is spectacular. I am fascinated by the gorilla. My gym’s logo is the gorilla and their posture and balance and control of their core is something special.’
3. Love life
Behind every successful man is a strong woman. For McG that woman’s name is Dee Devlin from Walkinstown in Dublin. They’ve been together for over 8 years. In an interview with MMAFighting in May 2015, the Celtic champ said:
‘My girlfriend has been there since the start. She has helped me throughout this career. If it wasn’t for her, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. So definitely, I love to spoil her. She does not work anymore, I hired her to the business. She works for me now and collects the cheques.’
Celtic Tiger turned 27 on 14 July and Dee Devlin sent her love on Instagram:
‘Biggest happy birthday to the most amazing person on the planet! I am so proud of you babe you are my everything xxx’.
4. Grrrreat tattoos
Apart from his red beard, perhaps the most distinguishable feature of the deadly Dubliner is the tattoo inked across his chest of a gorilla wearing a crown and eating a heart.
‘I feel like I am the king gorilla so … I had him eat the heart and it felt right.’
In 2015, the showy KO King got a new new tat around his belly-button of a tiger. It’s grrrrrreat! Frosted flakes, anybody? It’s no laughing matter for as the untamed Lion King says of his new artwork on his instagram account:
'If you see the tiger, it's too late. You're food.'
5. Pay day
UFC 189, which McGutsy headlined, was one of the UFC’s biggest box office hits. The MGM gate drew $7.2 million from the 16,019 spectators. Curiously, the Mayweather - Pacquiao boxing fight was also at the MGM and had a similar sized crowd (16,219) but generated ten times more money with ticket sales of $72.2 million.
While The Dublinator’s disclosed pay for demolishing Mendes was $500k - together with a ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus of $50k - the fighter further capitalised on the event. High profile UFC fighters get a cut of PPV TV revenue as an incentive to promote the event. McGregor is no slouch in that department. The UFC previously paid out $3 per purchased PPV order and the PPV purchases for the McGregor fight went north of a million. Doing the math, this gives McGregor a further take-home of $3 million.
Outside the ring, McGregor, the world’s best dressed fighter, was the first European fighter to be sponsored by Reebok. He also has sponsorship deals with Bug Light and Monster Energy. So, it’s money all the way, matched by His and Hers bling bling watches, his girlfriend’s diamond encrusted Cartier timepiece costing a reported €30k.
McGregor doesn’t mince his words and on his Instagram account says:
‘Soon we will have more gold to take back to Dublin.’
Lets be clear: the flamboyant Irishman deserves all his self-made wealth. Bravo. He told reporters:
‘Nobody works harder than me inside or outside the Octagon. I am a work horse and I enjoy the benefits of this life. Some people will look at that and take inspiration from it. Others will critique it and be negative towards it.’
6. Passports for animals
While McG loves watching animals he enjoys wearing them too. His girlfriend, Dee Devlin, explained to ESPN:
‘He’s kind of gotten into animal skins recently. He already had one pair of shoes that have a traveling passport because they are made of python skin. So, if you fly to, say, California, it’s illegal to buy them there so if you don’t have a passport with them they’ll be seized.
‘So, the other day, we went to the shops on the Las Vegas Strip and he bought a pair of caimans, which I think is crocodile or something, and we brought them home and I said: “Conor, these shoes have a passport too!” So, him asking me: “Make sure you pack my passport and my shoes passport when we travel” I guess is pretty strange.’
7. Dress in style
Once a trainee plumber, now the Irish royalty dresses to impress with his impeccable style. A fan of two and three-pieced suits, the Rambo dandy, is not shy to mix in a bit of pink, a bow tie or even to wear sunglasses indoors. His tailored suits are fitted for him at Louis Copeland in Dublin, a name synonymous with tailored fashion in Ireland.
8. Top pound-for-pound fighter
After the Mendes fight, the 145 pound titan debuted on the best pound-for-pound fighter list in the world. Arch-enemy, Jose Aldo, is ranked best in the world, while wishful challenger Frankie Edgar sits one place below the McEntertainer.
UFC POUND-FOR-POUND RANKINGS
1 Jose Aldo
2 Chris Weidman
3 Demetrious Johnson
4 Ronda Rousey
5 Fabricio Werdum +1
5 TJ Dillashaw
7 Rafael dos Anjos
8 Robbie Lawler
9 Cain Velasquez
10 Daniel Cormier
11 Anderson Silva
12 Renan Barao
13 Anthony Pettis
14 Conor McGregor
15 Frankie Edgar
9. McMouth walks the talk
Big Mc likes to predict the outcome of his fights. Prior to the Mendes fight he tried to wager the UFC president that he would knockout Mendes in two.
‘You want to know how confident this kid is?’ UFC Dana White said on the Jim Rome Show. ‘I can't even believe I'm going to say this, but, he told Lorenzo (Fertitta) and I the other day ‘I'll bet you $3 million I knock him out in the second round.’
Yep, he’s confident and cocky. Outrageous, ya. Sure, he’s brash and bold. Of course he’s a loudmouth…. but …. the McMouth walks the talk. He backs up his mouth. He promises and over-delivers. UPS can’t even match him. We’re speechless!
After beating Mendes, the victor collapsed on the ground - releasing the weight of the world - and he broke into tears. Done with the hyperbole he explained:
‘It overwhelmed me and I came to tears. It has been a hell of a ride. Just over two years I’m here and I’ve already broken every record in the game… It does not come easy, there’s a lot of work involved.’
10. Celtic King
UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta called the Dubliner ‘the Irish Muhammad Ali’. The fighter sees himself as a king. He announced it in the fight programme for UFC 189:
‘It’s just another day for me. I’ve been the star since day one. It’s just another day in the life of a king, and it feels normal. People think there’s pressure, I don’t feel pressure. I never did.’
King for a day or for an era? Lets see. But it appears that fate, destiny and the gods are on his side. Fortune favors the brave and that he is. In spades. He’s a man among men. The man. And whatever about being a king, a new star burns in the sky over Ireland.
McGregor does Ireland proud. The Fighting Irish are taking over. You better believe it.