Former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion Conor McGregor, who will attempt to reclaim that latter title from Khabib Nurmagomedov in the main event of UFC 229 this Saturday, is far and away the biggest star in UFC history. But why is that?
According to UFC President Dana White, there is a multitude of reasons. The simplest, though, is that Conor McGregor is a real fighter.
“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 and BT Sport (transcript via BloodyElbow). “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.”
The reason White considers Conor McGregor is a “real fighter,” he explained, is that he takes on all comers and never turns down a challenge. It was this personality trait that drove McGregor into his 2017 boxing match with Floyd Mayweather.
“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,” White said.
“You can hate Conor all you want; you’ve got to respect it. 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.”
What do you think of Dana White’s comments on Conor McGregor?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/4/2018.