Since his rise to prominence as perhaps the most famous Irish person in the world, some detractors have voiced concerns about Conor McGregor being a poor representative for Ireland on a global scale. Indeed, after his defeat to Nate Diaz at UFC 196 there were even many tweets of delight from Irish people.
The concern is understandable, as any Irish person can probably relate to moments when they have cringed at light-hearted references by tourists about them being the ‘fighting Irish‘, which is really just a brutish, unfair stereotype that, as a country, we’d probably all like to shed.
There is of course also the similarly uninformed labelling of MMA as a ‘so-called sport’, which is just about two competitors being locked into a cage and furiously beating one another to a pulp with no real skill or discipline being involved.
But McGregor plays a fantastic role for Ireland for a host of reasons. His success is a clear one that does not need to be extolled further. Another one that does get lost in the frenzied shuffle after a stray bottle or two, however, is that after the circus of a fight has concluded, he is the picture of respect towards his opponent.
Up until this video (below), the best example of this was probably his Instagram post after defeating José Aldo at UFC 194. Having sniped and harassed the Brazilian prior to the fight at every available opportunity, one might have assumed he would have gloated more than ever with his new ammo. But, instead McGregor took the high road.
As this video demonstrates, it is not the first time he has done so in his career.
He is of course, not a saint. He is flawed just like anyone else. Perhaps he has overstepped the mark at times with some of his pre-fight jibes.
But he is a wonderful ambassador for Ireland that practices what he preaches when he says:
“I am cocky in prediction. I am confident in preparation, but I am always humble in victory or defeat.”
Vincent Whelan, Pundit Arena