MMA fighters all have different personalities. Some, like Ronda Rousey, are extremely outspoken and absolutely love to get attention from the media. Others, like the Diaz brothers, prefer to stay on the down-low, appearing in public only when they must and answering questions to a bare minimum. However, there are also fighters that we know absolutely nothing about. Who are they? Where do they come from? How did they get in this sport? The answer to these questions can be hard to find, especially with fighters that don't like to talk to the media.
Though I can't speak for everyone else, I am personally extremely excited for UFC 194. Jose Aldo pulling out of the July fight was absolutely heart-breaking, but it made the event that much more special due to the wait. Obviously, the two main event competitors are Jose Aldo, the best pound for pound fighter in the world, and Conor McGregor, the interim champion and arguably the biggest draw in the UFC.
Jose Aldo has been around for the long time, and is one of the most dominant champions the sport has ever seen. We all know about his though childhood, the story behind his scar, and the basics of his personal life.
What do we really know about Conor McGregor though? We know that he is a KO specialist and we know about his trash-talk skills. However, behind all this talk that McGregor puts up in order to promote his fights, who is he as a person? Here are 15 things you probably didn't know about Conor McGregor:
15 The Hat in his Bag
Conor McGregor may seem like a tough guy who is always trash-talking his opponents, but he also has his soft side. Since he started MMA, McGregor has been carrying his grandfather's hat in his bag as a reminder of who he is and where he comes from. McGregor stresses that this is not superstition, but a reminder. Unfortunately however, the hat has recently been stolen out of the bag, leaving the interim champion without this prized possession.
14 McGregor has been Fighting his whole Life
Though he does not considers himself to be a victim of bullying, McGregor certainly grew up with fighting all around him. During his childhood in Ireland, McGregor was getting into fights in school and during soccer games. After these incidents, McGregor often caught himself thinking about what happened, what he could have done better, and what he would do next time: he developed and addiction for fighting. And that's the story of how Conor McGregor started martial arts.
13 He used to be a Plumber
McGregor used to be a plumber before he became an MMA superstar. Shortly after he made his MMA debut, he told his father that he was going to quit his job, a decision his father did not support. McGregor then spent many years on welfare until he got signed by the UFC and made the most of his opportunity. It is safe to say that McGregor really understands the struggles of the common Irish worker.
12 McGregor wanted to become a Soccer Player
Before his career in MMA, McGregor was a hardcore Manchester United fan. He followed all their games and owned all of their uniforms. During his childhood, his dream was to become a soccer star. He even played in his teen years and was getting competitive, until the boxing gym drew him away. Perhaps, after his fight with Jose Aldo, we should see a soccer skills competition between the Irish and the Brazilian.
11 His Sister is also an Athlete
When McGregor started to compete in MMA, his sister Erin decided to also take up an athletic discipline, and is now a competitive bodybuilder. The two siblings have a close relationship, as Erin McGregor says that her brother has always helped her during her low points in her career, and that she has done the same for him. Conor McGregor's iconic quote applies to his relationship with his sister: ''If one of us goes to war, we all go to war.''
10 He won two Belts in under a Year
In the Cage Warriors Fighting Championship 47, McGregor won against Dave Hill, securing the featherweight belt. Instead of defending the belt, he also won the CWFC lightweight belt in his very next fight. He then gave up both belts to pursue his career in the UFC. However, he is now looking past Jose Aldo, and wants to get the lightweight belt after his plans of dethroning the greatest fighter on Earth.
9 The Aldo trash-talking goes way back
Conor McGregor's trash-talking of Jose Aldo didn't just stem from their anticipated bout. It goes back to way before McGregor even made his UFC debut. In a past interview that took place before his career in the UFC, he once said: There is no opponent, there is no Jose Aldo. Who the f*** is Jose Aldo? There is no no one, you’re against yourself.”
Looks like his time has now come to face the greatest fighter in the world, and back up his words. UFC 194 just can't come soon enough.
8 He tried to place a $3 million bet with Dana White
Before his fight with Chad Mendes, McGregor was confident of his victory and even predicted that he would knock out his opponent in the second round. Since the UFC payday was not enough for him, he tried to bet Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta $3 million that he would knock out Chad within two rounds. Dana White is probably very happy that he did not take that bet.
7 His brutal weight cut
A week before his fight with Chad Mendes, Chael Sonnen asked the interim champion how much he weighed. His answer: 172 pounds. This means that in order to make 145, McGregor has to cut nearly 30 pounds in one week. That equals to over four pounds a day, which, if you've never had to cut weight, is a lot more than it sounds like. It is now clear why McGregor once said that his least favorite part of fighting is the weight cut.
6 He is faster than Ronda Rousey
Of this 17 professional wins, 15 have come by the way of knockout. Ronda Rousey has a similar resume, but specializes in submissions. Ronda's fastest win took her only 14 seconds, while McGregor once KOed his opponent in five. Before Patrick Doherty, the victim of the brutal knockout, had the chance to throw his first shot, he was met by a counter left hand from McGregor that quickly finished the fight.
5 He tore his ACL during a fight
McGregor's spectacular KOs over Chad Mendes and Denis Siver have solidified his place as the interim champion, but there is still one UFC opponent that McGregor did not finish: Max Holloway. Say what you will, but McGregor tore his ACL during that fight, but pushed through and won the decision. To McGregor however, securing the decision was not enough and he took this win as a loss due to his inability to finish.
4 His idol is Muhammad Ali
As a child, McGregor idolized Ali, thinking of him as a role-model and as a perfect career path. In fact, he even paid tribute to the boxing champion when he appeared on the cover of the UFC magazine in the same pose as Muhammad Ali took in his cover of Sports Illustrated. Furthermore, UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta has nicknamed the interim champion ''The Irish Muhammad Ali'' due to his fighting and trash-talking skills.
3 His support of gay marriage
McGregor has a very loud voice when it comes to trash-talking before a fight and even inside the octagon. However, he can also use that voice to pass his social and political messages across. During the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in Ireland last May, McGregor was one of the main stars associated with the defense of human rights and the idea of same-sex marriage.
2 He is planning on changing his nickname
''Notorious'' is a name that sticks in the minds of fans and promoters alike. It is a name that is easy to market and to sell, is memorable, and really suits McGregor's personality. However, all of these things are not good enough for the interim champion, as he is now planning to unveil a new nickname. The nickname? ''The Celtic Tiger''. Not nearly as cool as ''Notorious'' if you ask me.
1 Superstitions and sex before fighting
Conor McGregor is not a superstitious man. He takes this even further by claiming that superstition is a sign of weakness. For example, when Conan O'Brian asked him what he thinks of the superstition of abstaining from sex before a fight, is answer was: ''That is most certainly a superstition that I do not abide by. I definitely have as much sex as possible.” With Ronda Rousey saying the same thing to this question, perhaps the two best PPV sellers would make a good couple.