Conor McGregor: Why I'm a Red
UFC icon Conor McGregor returns to the octagon on Saturday night to fight Dustin Poirier - which reminds us of the 2019 interview in which he passionately outlined his affection for Manchester United, highlighting a group of club legends who had a positive impact on his childhood in Ireland.
Combat sports phenomenon ‘The Notorious’ offered a fascinating insight into his Reds allegiance during a Q&A with FIFA.com, paying tribute to fellow Irishmen Roy Keane and Denis Irwin.
McGregor also described Sir Alex Ferguson as “the don of football” and offered praise for the work that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was doing as caretaker manager at that time.
United heroes Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic were other subjects of his attention – check out some of the highlights of the interview here…
WHO I FOLLOWED GROWING UP
“I was more a player than a watcher back then, but Manchester United was my team. It was only the other day I came across an old picture of myself wearing that infamous grey United jersey, which I bought with my [First Holy] Communion money at eight years of age. I see my son when I look at that photo. I’d love to know where it is now. A truly ‘Notorious’ football jersey!
“I was attracted to the success and winning mentality of the club and people surrounded by United. Irish legends like Denis Irwin and Roy Keane were dedicated to their craft and had that winning mentality. Roy Keane was one of the best midfielders European football has ever seen. Opponents would be mentally beaten before they’d even stepped on to the pitch to face him.
“Then they had the don of football at the helm, the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson. To have that much success over such a long period is remarkable and something I continue to aspire to. And he did it by nurturing youngsters into stars and not by spending and spending and spending like some of these other managers. It’s been great to see Sir Alex getting back to full health and continuing to be at the United games. What passion! I wish him and his family all the best.”
TELL ME HOW GOOD DOES IT FEEL
“Ole Gunnar is a special man! I think he’s done an incredible job with United. They have to give him the job permanently. You can feel the pride and passion he has for the club and its history, and see the players honoured to wear the Red Devils crest under him. He’s really got the players performing. I think the same as a proud Irishman representing my home country of Ireland. Ole’s at the Wheel, tell me how good does it feel!”
Ole Gunnar Solskjær is a special man!— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) January 26, 2019
The Man United Super Sub.
Player AND Manager. Insane!
You can feel the passion he has for his club and its history.
Beaming with pride as he vividly explains the team's amazing counter attacking ability over the years. Past and present!
THE PLAYERS WHO ARE IMPRESSING ME
“Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford have been particularly outstanding under him [Solskjaer]. They are young, confident and fearless athletes who believe in their abilities. Look at how Rashford, at 21 years old and having never taken a penalty, after a long delay and with the weight of the world on his shoulders, stepped up and scored against PSG. What a night. Keep going, men!”
MY HUGE RESPECT FOR RONALDO
“Cristiano is a phenomenal athlete, person, and entrepreneur. His all-round discipline, perfectionist attitude, and dedication to his craft is inspiring and he has inspired so many young children to play football. Just look what he did in the Champions League, at 34 years young, a hat-trick under the lights when the pressure was on for all the marbles. Against Atletico Madrid, one of the best defensive sides in Europe. That is inspiring! We are both disciplined athletes at the top of our game.”
IBRA SAID CONOR IS THE ZLATAN OF MMA
“I respect Zlatan and his positive winning-mentality mindset, but let’s get this straight: there is only one Conor McGregor! Zlatan Ibrahimovic is trying to be the Conor McGregor of football – good luck to him. Zlatan and Paul Pogba are welcome to come and train with me whenever they like.”
Read more of McGregor's interview on FIFA.com.