With a generational fighting talent and enormous amounts of pay-per-view draws, Conor McGregor is an icon of the UFC. McGregor rapidly gained popularity with his intense, hyperactive personality while backing up his words with wins in the octagon.
He was born in Dublin, Ireland, and speaks fluent English with a proud Irish accent. But does Conor McGregor actually speak the Irish language?
Conor McGregor’s Irish Roots
McGregor walks to each fight with pride draped in the flag of Ireland, and frequently reflects on his heritage. He rapidly gained popularity by trash-talking his opponents before each fight. But, despite putting himself under massive amounts of pressure, McGregor dominated the UFC en route to becoming the first dual champion in two different weight classes.
Since then, McGregor fell back on his Irish roots and slowed down his fighting activity. In 2018, he founded a distillery in Northern Ireland, where he has since produced his own brand of Irish whiskey. McGregor also bought a home in Kildare, Ireland, in July 2019, where he and his family have officially settled.
A Question of McGregor’s Patriotism
During the buildup to a UFC super fight, McGregor went back and forth with opponent Khabib Nurmagomedov. The two added fire to the feud by taking personal jabs at each other. In September 2018, Khabib questioned McGregor’s patriotism by saying,
If you love your country, you have to speak with your language.
Khabib further raised the question of whether he speaks Irish when he mentioned that McGregor consistently displays an Irish flag, but only speaks in English.
McGregor Speaking Irish
During the UFC 229 press conference, the two fighters clashed yet again. McGregor ranted about how his bloodline “fought against the English empire” and represented his loyalty to his Irish background. Referring to McGregor abandoning the Irish language for English, Khabib directly criticized McGregor asking,
Why did you change your language then?
While laughing, McGregor was quick to shoot up and shout what appeared to be fluent Irish phrases at Khabib and evidently proved him wrong.
Speaking on Irish Television
While McGregor was promoting a fight against Jose Aldo years ago, he spoke in the Irish language when responding to an Irish TV channel. He replied to an Irish interviewer explaining,
I understand what you are saying, but I’m a little bit rusty right now.
Despite McGregor’s clear lack of practice, he joked around in Irish, making the crowd laugh. McGregor followed up in English and shed light on his Irish background, including his childhood education. He mentioned that he used to be a fluent Irish speaker and still understands the language.
Afterward, McGregor mentioned the Irish schools he attended growing up. He included both Coláiste de hÍde in Tallaght and Gaelscoil – medium Irish-language speaking schools, that most likely taught McGregor Irish as a second language.
Conor McGregor is known for selling out fighting arenas and for his hot-headed personality, but consistently carries his Irish pride wherever he goes. He speaks fluent English with a thick Dublin accent and still appears to remember how to speak Irish from his childhood days.
Despite being rusty, McGregor has no problem giving the Irish language a shot when somebody calls him out on it. Regardless, performing under pressure is seemingly the source of Conor McGregor’s success.
Would you like to meet some new people to talk to on a topic you find interesting?
Check out these Zoom mixer meetings to chat about your hobby or obsession.