It seems like these days everyone knows who Conor McGregor is, even though just a few short years ago, he was a regular Joe who was thinking about being a plumber? Hard to believe, right? Especially since he just went up against his toughest opponent yet, Floyd Mayweather an undefeated boxer. Although he lost the fight, he still walked away with a $100 million paycheque. That’s hardly losing in our book. These days, he’s in talks with Dana White for another shot at Mayweather. We’re not sure if he will get it, however, since Mayweather is more than happy to stay in retirement.
It’s hard not to take notice of the foul-mouth Irishman — he’s opinionated and flamboyant and has no problem making his presence known. We imagine he’s only going to continue going up in the UFC as he has made leaps and bounds in the industry that many did not expect.
But what was Conor McGregor like before he made it big in the UFC? You might be surprised just how normal of a life that he had. He was a big dreamer, however, and both he and his wife believe that he would “make it,” that he would rise to the top as a fighter. He never gave up the dream of being a fighter and that probably had a lot to do with why he did make it. Check out these 15 secrets about Conor McGregor before making any UFC money.
15 Conor McGregor Was A Plumbing Apprentice
He’s certainly come a long way since then and really we can’t even picture the tough cage fighter being a plumber. It just wasn’t meant to be. When it came to being a fighter it was his dream, one that he didn’t want to give up on.
His father, however, tried to convince him to give up his big dream of being a professional fighter and to focus more on a career as a plumber.
He told Men’s Health that he was already a plumber before he became a professional fighter. It’s a good thing he didn’t listen to his father. He believes that no one should have to live a 9-to-5 type of life. “Yes, sir, no, sir, clock in, clock out. Why were you late? Why are you not in today? That's not how humans are supposed to live.”
14 McGregor Was Bullied As A Child
It’s amazing to us how many celebrities and public figures have been bullied when they were younger. It’s crazy to think that someone as tough as McGregor could ever be bullied, but that’s sometimes why men and women get into fighting so that they can protect themselves. That’s exactly the reason why McGregor got into fighting. He was a small kid in Dublin, Ireland, so getting picked on happened often him.
He decided that he needed to learn how to defend himself. After being harassed by six older kids one day, McGregor started to carry around a mental dumbbell in his backpack just in case.
He joined a boxing gym at the age of twelve and loved it so much that he worked toward becoming a professional.
13 He Was Offered The Role Of A Bond Villain
Now that’s interesting. This was after he joined UFC but before he became as big as he is now. He was once offered a role in a James Bond movie as the villain. We could totally see him playing a villain. At the time, McGregor had to turn down the role because he was preparing for an upcoming fight. He has said, though, that he wouldn’t be opposed to something like that in the future. He’s likely the type of person who will keep trying new things even though he’s on top.
“I'm not going to get somewhere and say, 'okay, I'm done.' Success is never final;
I'll just keep on going. The same way as failure never being fatal. Just keep going. I'm going to the stars and then past them.”
12 Positive Thinking Got Him To Where He Is
These days we are hearing a lot about positive thinking and how a positive mind frame can bring you your dream life. There are tons of people out there that believe that they can manifest their dream life just by thinking about it. Conor McGregor has said that he always belonged on top, it was just a matter of getting there. It all started when his sister Erin gave him a self-help book called The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. The book was released in 2006 and it became a phenomenon about how positive thinking can give you life-changing results.
McGregor ended up watching the DVD version of the book and said, “This is bull, but then something clicked for me.”
At the time, he and his girlfriend Devlin started visualizing getting the perfect parking spots and things like that. “We would be driving to the shop and visualizing the exact car park space. And then we’d be able to get it every time.”
11 He’s Not The Only Athlete In The Family
You might have thought that Conor McGregor was the only athlete in his family, but that’s not true. His sister Erin is also a professional bodybuilder. We can definitely see the resemblance. Conor McGregor may be the superstar in the family, but his sister Erin is starting to get her own following as well. She is athletic and charismatic and those traits got her on Dancing With The Stars. She used to work as a hairdresser before she got into bodybuilding.
“I was totally naïve going into the bodybuilding scene. There is a huge amount of sacrifice. It was only when I began to compete that I turned to my mam one day and said, ’Now I truly understand how hard Conor works.’”
Many people don’t realize the sacrifice and dedication that goes with being a professional fighter.
10 He Had A Famous Sparring Partner
When Conor McGregor was first starting out, he didn’t have a lot at his disposal. These days, he can spend millions of dollars on training camps to prepare for his fight. But when you are first starting out you basically have to take whatever sparring partners are available to you. There was a time, however, that McGregor had the opportunity to spar with someone famous.
Hafþór Júlíus "Thor" Björnsson, who we know as The Mountain from Game of Thrones, was someone that he had an opportunity to spar against.
Considering the size of The Mountain, it couldn’t have been easy for McGregor to train with him. Though Conor has always been up for a good challenge in his life. “I enjoy competition. I enjoy challenges. If a challenge is in front of me and it appeals to me, I will go ahead and conquer it.”
9 He Never Forgets Where He Comes From
Conor McGregor came basically from nothing. He lived a very humble life and for a while, he thought he might be working as a plumber. He’s come a long way since those days but he never wants to forget his roots. You may not be aware that McGregor carries around his grandfather’s hat with him in his bag to remind him of the important journey that he’s been on. As arrogant as he can be in the media he does have a humble heart. The hat for McGregor is a mark of how far he has come in his life. He’s not likely to forget his journey or his roots.
“This hat is my grandad's hat, I've had it literally since I started combat sport. He passed and left a few things and one of the things he used to always wear was this hats. I've had it 10 years I'd say
and it's been in every gear bag, I just bought a new bag so will transfer it over. Sometimes I forget it's even in there but it's been in every single bag for the past 10 years.”
8 He Wanted To Be A Football Player
Before he became a professional MMA fighter, Conor McGregor used to play amateur football and thought about a career in football at one point. He often played for Slieveamon United and Yellowstone Celtic in the United Churches League and Leinster Football League as well. In 2013, McGregor would claim that he was a great striker and that he considered himself to be a “goal machine.”
Many of his previous managers confirmed that he did have “significant footballing abilities.” His former manager Robbie Beakhurts said that McGregor used to say, Just give me the ball and I’ll do the rest.
He played for me with a club called Slievenamon United when we played in the UCFL. He was a striker and was our top scorer every year. I took over Yellowstone Celtic and took him with me and again he was scoring for fun on a weekly basis.”
7 His Shoes Need Their Own Passport
Say again? Yes, that’s right, Conor McGregor’s shoes need to have their own passport. Now, why on Earth would that be the case?
Well, McGregor owns a few pairs of shoes that are made out of animal skin. When he is traveling to certain states, those particular shoes need their own passport because some states have outlawed the purchase of products that use animal skin.
He has a few snakeskin and crocodile shoes that he likes to wear when he’s traveling. .
6 He Knocked Someone Out In 3.5 Seconds
Now, that’s pretty impressive, you have to admit. Love him or hate him, the guy has some serious talent. Before he became part of UFC and started making millions, he was out fighting people and winning some awesome battles. One of his fights that he had before the UFC was against Paddy Doherty at Immortal Championship 4 in Ireland. When he fought Doherty, he knocked him out in 3.5 seconds. You don’t get much better than that. Which is the second quickest knockout in MMA history?
“I wish everyone well, but you need to focus on yourself. You need to stop putting your hand out. Everyone wants handouts. Everyone wants things for free. You've got to put in the work.
You've got to grind. You've got go through the struggle, and you've got to get it.”
5 His Family Thought He Was Born To Fight
His Dad, Tony once said that when Conor McGregor came out of the womb, it was like he was all ready for battle. He said his “fists were clenched coming out of the womb, so he was ready to fight.” That’s actually pretty remarkable all things considered. He began taking his boxing classes at Straight Blast Gym under John Kavanagh, who is still his coach to this day. John has said about the fighter,
“You could tell that he hit hard. And that’s difficult to teach. What made him different was he was obsessive.”
His trainer Phil Sutcliffe also mentioned, “He was a tough young fella, not a bad mover, and packed a wallop. Even as a kid he packed a bit of a dig.” It looks like he was always meant to be where he is. It’s funny how destiny always finds a way.
4 He’s Going to Be a Video Game Star
We have to admit that it sounds pretty cool to be in a video game. He was asked to play Captain Bradley Fillion in Call of Duty: Infinity Warfare which was released in November 2016. It must be fun to be involved with something like that and who knows, his son might find himself playing the game one day as Captain Bradley Fillion. There is never a dull moment in a celebrity’s life. They always have the opportunity to star in a movie, be in a video game or even music videos. It’s definitely a cool life. It sounds like it’s just another place that he draws inspiration from.
“I take inspiration from everyone and everything.
I'm inspired by current champions, former champions, true competitors, people dedicated to their dream, hard workers, dreamers, believers, achievers.”
3 His Parents Gave Him Grief About Being A Fighter
It’s certainly something that you can understand from a parent’s point of view. There are plenty of fighters out there that don’t see their dreams realized like Conor McGregor did. His father Tony worked as a taxi driver during the graveyard shift while his mother was working in sales for a makeup company. “My Ma and Da used to give me grief about the fighting game as a career. I had some tough times with my Da. He’d say, ‘Get your a**e into a f***ing job. What are you doing? You are doing nothing with your life.
They’d ask me what I was going to do when I lose a fight. I told them by the time I’m 25, I’m going to be a self-made millionaire.”
It’s a good thing that he made it where he wanted to be because he sure got a lot of pressure from his parents.
2 He Used To Be Considered A Quiet Child
Now, that is something that we find hard to believe. He’s always been quite vocal in his career, especially when it comes to chirping his upcoming opponents. But that is all about how you play the game. When it comes to being a famous MMA fighter, you have to develop a persona, something that people take notice of — your claim to fame so to speak. That’s what you become known for in the industry. He may not have made it big had he continued to act like a “quiet and unassuming” boy from Ireland. He wanted to make it big and most MMA fighters wouldn’t have even tried to take a boxer out of retirement to fight him.
“My father laughed at me. I was a year late, but I did it.”
You have to give him credit for all that he has done to get to where he is. It couldn’t have been an easy road.
1 Dee Devlin Is His Inspiration
That’s not surprising. You know the saying, “behind every great man is a great woman?” The two do make an attractive couple. Dee Devlin has been his inspiration since day one because she always believed in him and his dreams. The two have been together for nine years now and they share a son together. They met in a nightclub around the same time he found his love for fighting.
“I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for her. I’m doing all of this for her.”
Despite his massive fame and all the girls that seem to be around him regularly, his love for her has not changed. There is a lot of talk that McGregor will pop the question to his long-time love sometime in 2018. Who’s in a betting mood?