The Notorious Irishman has been synonymous with Mixed Martial Arts and specifically the UFC for most of the last decade, and didn’t follow most of his high school cohorts down the road of being obsessed with football as a youngster.
However, the world’s most popular sport isn’t entirely alien to McGregor, who has admitted he grew up with a serious affection for Manchester United – and their snarling midfield general Keane.
Speaking in a new interview with FIFA.com, the 30-year-old from Crumlin takes a bit of a stroll down memory lane, explaining: “Throughout my youth, I was big into football. I played striker or midfielder.
“If you were to sum me up as a player, I was efficient, devastating and slick – similar to my fighting style.
“Skills learned at this youthful age playing football – teamwork, leadership, commitment, dedication and discipline – without a doubt transferred over into my combat sports vocation.
“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.”
As a man from the Republic of Ireland, it might’ve been expected that McGregor’s footballing allegiances were to Celtic, but it turns out he’s more of a Red Devil than previously thought.
What do you make of his comments, and who would you like to see him fight next in the UFC?
Let us know in the comments section below…