By now, it is undeniable that Conor McGregor is one of the biggest sports superstars in the world. Many would likely point to the shock value he brings, both with the way he carries himself and the words that come out of his mouth during interviews and media events.
For UFC president Dana White, however, the biggest reason for it has never been rooted to all of that.
“Everybody always talks smack that I kiss Conor’s ass and all this other stuff and Conor would completely disagree with that, I think,” White told Dan Hardy via RT Sport. “Why do you think he’s such a big star?”
“You think he’s such a big star because he’s funny? Yeah, that’s part of it. You think he’s such a big star because he speaks so well? Absolutely part of it. And you just keep going down the line of all these things that make him a star, but number one, first and foremost, the reason he is a global superstar and people love this guy because he’s a real fighter.”
“I’m the guy that makes the phone calls and here are people going ‘Yeah, I’m not gonna take that fight’ or ‘I’m not gonna do this’ or ‘I’m not gonna do that.’ Never has Conor McGregor said that.”
For White, this kind of attitude has earned McGregor a lot of respect from his peers, even after the Floyd Mayweather fight last August where the Irishman was beaten to a tenth-round TKO.
“You can hate Conor all you want; you’ve got to respect it,” White said. “And I think McGregor has gotten to a point that when he first came in, a lot of the other fighters were looking at him like ‘oh, he’s this hype train’, they see now that he’s more than that. Especially even after the Mayweather fight. Look how well he did in that fight.”
“Conor McGregor is the real deal, man.”
McGregor is set to challenge Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC lightweight title this Saturday, October 6th at UFC 229 in Las Vegas.