One of America’s most beloved fighters is Conor McGregor. You could even say that he’s loved internationally – in Ireland, at least. And if you’re not a fan of UFC, McGregor may not be a household name yet, but he’s certainly getting close to that level of popularity.
McGregor has been fighting for many years, and he just made his UFC debut in 2013 against Marcus Brimage on Fuel TV. Since that first fight, McGregor has been taking names, setting records, and becoming a powerhouse fighter. Outside of being known for his talent, he’s also known for being a huge smack-talker when it comes to his opponents. If you don’t love him for his talent, you at least get a laugh out of the things he says during interviews.
While it may seem like all there is to McGregor is fighting, you’re dead wrong. There’s a ton more to The Notorious Conor McGregor than what meets the eye. Here are 15 little-known facts about Conor McGregor.
15. He’s A Softie
Anybody that has seen McGregor fight or has watched any of his interviews knows that he’s not afraid to run his mouth. He’s notorious for wild insults, screaming at his opponents, and telling them off before they even have the chance to speak. Despite that, it seems that McGregor is kind of a sentimental guy. In a documentary about the fighter, titled Notorious, McGregor admits that he used to keep an old hat of his grandfather’s in his gear bag with him. McGregor “doesn’t believe” in superstitions or traditions for fights, so carrying the hat with him was more of a reminder of who he was and where he came from before the UFC was in his life. Unfortunately, McGregor had the hat stolen from his car in 2014. Given his recent track record, it seems that the UFC fighter is doing just fine without it.
14. Even Fights In His Sleep
When watching McGregor fight, it’s easy to see that fighting is his passion – there’s a look in his eyes that isn’t there during interviews and that only comes alive when he’s challenged with his opponents. Even during his off-time, McGregor wants to be fighting and can’t stop thinking about it. In the Notorious documentary, McGregor explains how he’ll wake up in the middle of the night, wanting to fight. McGregor had a wall in his apartment that he’d wake up and kick, punch, and jab – anything to get practice. John Kavanagh, SBG Ireland’s head coach described McGregor as “a little bit different” than other fighters that he had trained. Kavanagh portrayed McGregor as “obsessive” about fighting and explained that McGregor always had new and interesting questions during each training session. McGregor explains fighting as, “It’s 24/7 in my head, I’m always thinking about it, I’m always doing, I don’t do anything else.”
13. Got Into UFC To Protect Himself
When McGregor was growing up, he got into quite a few fights. He admits to The Daily Mail that he never felt like he was bullied, but he wasn’t comfortable with the fact that he couldn’t protect himself. He told The Daily Mail that after fights, most kids would just forget about what happened and moved on, but McGregor would think critically about the fight, noting that things could’ve turned out better if he had done several things differently. After those experiences, McGregor took up kickboxing, and then moved to ju jitsu. He claimed he wanted “to learn every way and be comfortable in any situation.” Even though he started to train just to learn how to protect himself, it became all that he could think about – leading him to where he is today. As a result of having these playground issues throughout his childhood, McGregor is an advocate for anti-bullying movements and often talks to youth centers about bullying.
12. He Loves Fashion
From the very beginning of the birth of the Notorious Conor McGregor, it’s very rare for viewers not to catch him in a perfectly fitted suit. If he’s not fighting, he’s as stylish as can be. So much so, that in April of 2014 he was named Most Stylish Man at the VIP Awards in Ireland. In August of 2013 before Max Holloway went head to head with McGregor, the Notorious said, “There are two things I really like to do: whoop ass and look good. I am doing one of them right now and Saturday night, I will do the other.” While accepting his Most Stylish Man Award, Conor told the audience that it was an honor, but in the end he wasn’t surprised because he knew he was going to win. In May of 2016, McGregor’s long-time girlfriend, Dee Devlin, won the Most Stylish Newcomer award from the VIP Style Awards.
11. His Sister Is A Bodybuilder
While McGregor is undoubtedly the most famous person in his family, his sister also deserves a little bit of her own spotlight as well, as she’s a competitive bodybuilder. Erin, McGregor’s sister, told The Sunday World that she truly understood how hard her brother works after she started competing. While the sibling pair aren’t in the same field of athleticism, they both support each other through their respective journeys. In the same interview, Erin stated that there are low, hard periods to what she does – but whenever she started to feel low and upset, her brother was always on the phone to cheer her on and make sure that she felt like she could continue. As a result of their career paths, Erin admits that it has, “forged this mutual respect that I suppose we never had before.”
10. Likes Lots Of “Love” Before A Fight
McGregor claims to not be one who is into superstitions and traditions, but there is one thing that he always does before a fight: has as much sex as possible. He admitted this to be true during one of his stops on Conan O’Brien. O’Brien opened with, “This is an old maxim in fighting that you’ve heard about over the years — abstain from sex before a fight. Where are you in that category?” McGregor told the world that wasn’t something that he followed at all, and “definitely has as much sex as possible.” Since McGregor’s long-time girlfriend is famous in her own right now for being McGregor’s spouse, it almost makes you wonder how she thought when McGregor opened up about that information. McGregor isn’t alone in that sentiment though – infamous female fighter Ronda Rousey also admits to partaking the very same tradition before her fights as well.
9. Truly Hates Jose Aldo
It’s been quite a while since McGregor beat Jose Aldo and took the title of Featherweight Champion, but even before the two knew they’d be fighting each other, McGregor has been throwing shade and mouthing off about his opponent. In 2013, MTV UK ran a special called “The Rise Of Conor McGregor” in which McGregor opens up a ton about his life and about fighting in general. From the very beginning, even in these very early pieces of footage, McGregor talks about how all he thinks about is fighting. Even back then, he was talking about all he thought about was the ring, what was ahead of him, and being in the moment and actually fighting. When the interviewer brought up Jose Aldo, McGregor replied with, “Man I would fight that guy in a heart beat, I would fight any of them in a heart beat. I will go forward and I will go at them. There is no opponent, there is no Jose Aldo. Who the f-ck is Jose Aldo? There is no no-one, you’re against yourself.”
8. He Also Hates Dieting
It’s not a secret that athletes in any sport have to stay on top of their physique and athleticism. For McGregor, the story isn’t any different – and it’s actually the part he hates the most about fighting. On top of having to be in the gym all the time and maintaining training, McGregor also has to intensely watch what he eats to ensure that he’s in tip-top shape for fights. In an interview with The Toronto Sun, McGregor admitted that he can’t wait for the day that he doesn’t have to count calories and watch what he eats anymore. “I look forward to the day when I’m old and able to eat what I want. I’ll be a little happy fat guy,” McGregor said. While McGregor might seem like the kind of guy to get down on a steak and potatoes meal, he opened up in the same interview and said that he’s much more of a sweets guy. “So for me, I love meat. But a cheat would definitely be a nice coffee and a cake.” Seeing how McGregor always has a big fight around the corner, it’s probably hard to say when his last coffee and cake was.
7. He Supports Same-Sex Marriage
In 2015, one of the biggest news stories that swirled nationwide was that the United States, and many other countries, legalized same-sex marriage. Even though McGregor is infamous for spending a lot of his time trash talking other people, he showed his true colors when he stood up for legalizing same-sex marriage in Ireland in May of 2015. He Tweeted on May 19, 2015 and said, “Myself and my team are urging everyone to please VOTE YES TO EQUALITY! Every human deserves equal rights #WeAreAllOne.” Straight Blast Gym of Ireland, where McGregor trains out of sometimes, was also on board with calling fans to say yes to legalizing same-sex marriage. Luckily, McGregor is one of those celebrities that often uses his popular platform to spread the word about important issues, such as how he did in this case. Just like the United States, Ireland also passed the measure to legalize same-sex marriage.
6. He Supports Fans Selling His Autograph
People who are actual fans of McGregor know that he hasn’t always been this extremely wealthy man with fitted suits and a hot lifestyle. Before he became ‘The Notorious Conor McGregor’, he was actually living with his long-term girlfriend on welfare. Outside of that, his career path was taking him down the road of being a plumber – so it’s safe to say that McGregor knows what it’s like to be a little broke. Often times, McGregor is confronted by people who want autographs just so that they can resell whatever item he signed and resell it online for a profit. While a lot of people might have issues with this, McGregor respects it and doesn’t mind signing the autographs for people who might not be true fans. “They are not collecting autographs, they’re collecting cash,” McGregor said. “If they go through the hassle of standing outside in the cold, getting the pictures printed, showing up, you know what I mean?” McGregor told The Embedded Series. He also went on to say that ultimately, they’re supporting him and supporting his fights, so he has no problem with what they’re doing.
5. His Walkout Music Is A Tribute To Ireland
One of the most marketable things about Conor McGregor is that he’s Irish. He has the accent, the look, and is all about flaunting his true heritage. In true Irish, McGregor fashion, even his walkout music is a tribute to his home country. In his walkout music, McGregor features Sinead O’ Connor, who is a famous Irish singer-songwriter. During his second fight in UFC in Boston, he was asked if he wanted “Shipping Up To Boston” by the Dropkick Murphys to play, but McGregor wanted O’Connor instead. He later goes on to say, “That’s some real Irish sh-t, that’s some go to war sh-t.” Dana White, president of the UFC, tried to convince McGregor to use U2 as they are an Irish band as well – but McGregor, to this day, has O’Connor as a crucial part of his walkout music. He’s so connected to his choice for walkout music that O’Connor flew to Las Vegas for UFC 189 to sing McGregor into the Octagon.
4. He Bet Dana White $3M
For those that watch McGregor during his interviews, weigh-ins, or fights, it’s easy to see that the guy is incredibly confident in himself. Many even call him cocky and a little too pretentious, but most of the time he can back it up. To most, it may not come as a surprise that McGregor, as confident as he is in his own abilities, bet president of UFC, Dana White, three million dollars that he would beat Chad Mendes by the second round of UFC 189. This fight was already an intense one because McGregor had to drop 27 pounds just to be in the same weight class as Mendes – in a little over a week. In the end, White didn’t end up accepting McGregor’s bet. “I like to bet, I don’t know if I’m that willing to take that bet,” White said. “When I tell you how extremely confident this guy is in himself, it’s fascinating. He is a very unique, fascinating person to listen to. Fun to listen to, and fun to watch.” When all was said and done, McGregor knocked Mendes out by 4:57 in the second round.
3. The UFC Made $7.1M Off One Fight
More often than not, McGregor is always talking about how much money he has made the UFC – and how much he’ll continue to make them during his fighting career. With every fight that McGregor is on, it’s pretty much expected that the fight is going to make millions of dollars. Another cash cow for the UFC is female fighter Ronda Rousey – her net worth from UFC fights alone is over $8 million, according to moneynation.com. When McGregor and Aldo were set to fight, it was forecasted to be the highest earning UFC fight in history. After Aldo pulled out and Mendes was put in, the gate went even higher than the UFC expected. The Mendes versus McGregor fight made the UFC 7.1 million dollars; they even had to add bleachers at the venue. Dana White spoke on The Jim Rome Show and said that that fight ended up being the biggest event the UFC has ever done in the United States.
2. He Tore His ACL In A Fight And Still Won
Obtaining big injuries during fights is something that’s very common, especially in the UFC. Anderson Silva is infamous for the way his leg bent when it was broke in UFC 168 against Chris Weidman, and Holly Holm is known for handing Ronda Rousey her hardest loss of all time – and a broken jaw. McGregor is no stranger to receiving an intense injury during a fight. During a fight against Max Holloway, McGregor ended up tearing his ACL and still ended up winning the fight. During the round, McGregor heard and felt a huge pop in his leg, but decided to keep going. He realized he was very wobbly on it, and even then he still delivered a few kicks with that same leg. Unfortunately, it did affect the way McGregor fought. His win came from the decision and not from a finish like McGregor normally delivers. During the post-fight interview, McGregor admitted that it still felt like a loss to him since he wasn’t able to deliver a more glorious finish.
1. His Fastest Finish Was Four Seconds
One of the most infamous fighters in the UFC known for fast knockouts is Ronda Rousey. Her fastest fight record is 14 seconds against Cat Zingano, in which she won because of an armbar submission. Her longest fight, that she still won, was four minutes and forty nine seconds against Liz Carmouche. McGregor, believe it or not, has a fight that finished faster than anyone else in the UFC. Unfortunately, the fight was not a UFC fight, so it doesn’t go down in their records. At Immortal Fighting Championship in 2011, McGregor fought Patrick Doherty. McGregor finished Doherty in a whopping four seconds with two hits, and he delivered one last punch before the ref broke them up. After the news of this, fighter Duane Ludwig came to his own defense and said that he also had a knockout of four seconds even though in the records it’s listed as 11.