Will Conor McGregor Spark A MMA Boom In Ireland?

Hate him. Love him. Say what you want about him, but Conor McGregor is a star. He is a star in America, but he is a real star in his native ConorMIreland. Stories abound of the decibel level on the Dublin crowd, when he fought there. The UFC has their eyes on Ireland largely because of McGregor. He isn’t the only Irish fighter on the roster. They have Cathal Pendred, Paddy Holohan, Neil Seery, Aisling Daly and new signee Joseph Duffy.

UFC would have no problems selling tickets to a show in Dublin. However, real success is found when you have a native star. Outside of McGregor though, there really is not much. Joseph Duffy may be the best hope. Pendred, Holohan and Seery are serviceable, but do not appear to be able to handle higher level competition. A lot could depend on emerging talent in Ireland. The MMA scene is unique there. It does not appear there are many UFC caliber fighters there. There are one or two guys who may get a chance eventually, but there is is no “new Conor McGregor” on the horizon.  Looking at my prospect lists, I am not certain there is a single Irish fighter who is UFC ready.

I would imagine that could change. The amateur scene in Ireland is growing. The hope is that is 2-3 years some serious talents will emerge there. Maybe some teenage boy sat at home watching Conor McGregor dismantle Denis Siver and determined in his mind to become a professional fighter. Maybe in the wake of McGregor’s stardom, some kid is seeking out a gym to train in.

McGregor has had an immediate impact on the UFC in many ways. He is bringing buzz to a stale division. He is bringing excitement to a hungry Irish MMA crowd. He is drawing eyeballs for his fights. Perhaps the best impact will come in five years or so. Perhaps his impact will be seen more clearly when we see a young Irish fighter come onto the scene and dub him “The Irish GSP” or the “New Conor McGregor”.  Can Conor McGregor sell out venues in Ireland?  Sure.  Can Conor McGregor break viewing records on Fox Sports 1?  Apparently.  Can he fight the best in the world?  Sure.  Can he inspire a new generation of fighters to emerge from his homeland?  Time will tell.


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