The debate about Ireland’s best athlete (of all time) is most often an uncomfortable one to have. The arguments that erupt – this topic is certainly something not to be discussed over sunday dinner.
There is a divide with how people feel about McGregor because of how he is. One one hand he is flamboyant, stylish, glamorised, flaunts his big coin, a showman and entertainer. But the other he is a very approachable and helpful athlete who goes out of his way to help people especially those involved in MMA and not to mention posing for many photos with fans.
People especially those who are Irish don’t want to take selfie’s with him because he owns a lambo and has millions in his bank account. He wears a Rolex watch and a Gucci shirt open to horse racing festivals. No they’re not painting murals of Conor McGregor around Ireland because of that.
What McGregor does is inspire people. He sets a goal and makes it reality through endless hours of training. A plumber’s apprentice into a two-weight world champion in the most cut-throat organisations in professional sports. That’s his legacy.
But the question remains – where does he rank among the other great Irish athletes of all time? Is a UFC belt equal to an Olympic Gold medal or a UEFA Champions League medal? It’s nearly too hard to say.
To say that McGregor is a better Irish athlete than Katie Taylor who won Gold in the Olympic Games, won several World Championships and has won every professional fight since her debut in 2016.
Similarly to that, if you’re a Gaelic Football fan, are you going to be convinced that his achievements hold more significance than Dublin Footballer Alan Brogan? Who has won 13 Leinster Senior Football Championship titles, four All-Ireland Senior Football Championship and four National Football League. Most definitely not.
One certain thing for McGregor is that he is now and has his hands firmly on everything that an Irish sports star should have. His seat in the place of worship of Irish sporting greats is more than deserved at this stage.