Conor McGregor: From Octagon to Onscreen


Conor McGregor’s Evolution Beyond the UFC

Notoriety follows Conor McGregor in every aspect of his life — that’s par for the course for this multi-weight UFC champion, entrepreneur, global businessperson, and athletic icon. From electrifying gladiatorial arenas to the silver screen’s gilded halls, McGregor’s journey reads like a riveting epic, blending equal parts grit, gravitas, and unbridled audacity. As fans eagerly awaited his Hollywood debut in the Road House remake, where he takes on the role of ruthless villain opposite Jake Gyllenhaal’s complex hero, one thing is abundantly clear: McGregor’s ascent to the big screen is as swift and relentless as his lethal left hook.

From his humble beginnings in the working-class streets of Dublin to his coronation as the undisputed king of the octagon, McGregor’s journey is nothing short of legendary. With a record-breaking string of victories and a magnetic persona that captivates audiences worldwide, McGregor’s imprint on the sport of mixed martial arts is indelible, his legacy immortalized in the annals of combat sports history.

Amidst entrepreneurial pursuits, McGregor remains grounded with his devoted Dee by his side, and four children lighting up their sprawling Dublin estate. Family isn’t merely a refuge from fame; it’s the beating heart of McGregor’s existence, the driving force behind his every pursuit.

In our exclusive cover story, we go behind the scenes to unravel the enigma that is Conor McGregor. The man is a cultural phenomenon of his own making, a symbol of resilience and reinvention.

SP: On behalf of Jetset Magazine, we’re thrilled to speak with you. Thanks for your time. What’s been the most compelling or challenging aspect of your transition from the octagon to the silver screen?

CM: You’ve just got the kind of reverse engineer yourself, right? In the context of acting and filmmaking, I’m a white belt. So, I had to take that mentality and think, okay, I’ve achieved a lot in the fight game, but how can I condition myself in a new arena? It’s humbling in the best way; I got to ask a lot of questions and took direction very well.

SP: Your journey from MMA fighter to cast of Road House is remarkable given your Dublin street-cred roots. I’m sure you’ve turned down dozens of past movie offers in favor of this robust opportunity to remake an iconic film. What did director Doug Liman say to you to get you fired up?

CM: Doug and producer Joel Silver presented the total package. First off, I’m a big fan of Patrick Swayze and the original Road House. Hearing Jake Gyllenhaal was involved, alongside Billy Magnussen, that really pricked my ears up — the opportunity to join an amazing cast. Shooting in the Dominican Republic, with the backing of Amazon Prime and MGM Studios —that was a big draw too. Then there was sheer lucky timing. [I was] recovering from an injury from my last contest, so I had time off to allow for the shoot.

SP: When I saw how intricate, visceral, and “full send” the Road House fight sequences played out, I was gobsmacked, thinking… this is how McGregor gets over an injury? Ironically, your UFC trainer has to “protect you from fake fighting” in order for you to crush it on your return to the octagon. Were there any specific stunts that your trainer or attorney forbade you from engaging in on the set of Road House?

CM: No, nothing was officially off-limits. I do all my own stunts.

SP: Seriously? Even enduring simulated body blows and leg sweeps? Would you say you did 50 or 60% of the stunts that made it to the final cut?

CM: I’d say 98%. I was pretty much healed from the injury, but not to the point of returning to competition. The only thing they wouldn’t let me do was the scene where I fell backward down a flight of stairs.

SP: I’m glad they drew the line at the catastrophic stair crush.

CM: On the heavy fight choreography days, they had stunt doubles standing by at the ready. I just really didn’t think the guys looked like me, so I did it myself.

SP: I suppose that’s your “quality control” on the image and likeness front.

CM: Exactly. I was invested in the outcome at every stage.

SP: What has been the biggest game changer when it comes to overcoming injury? Have you discovered a new protocol or lifestyle shift that’s helped you reach the endgame?

CM: I love ice water immersion and a daily short stint of direct sun exposure. We must expose our bodies to stressors daily — saunas, fasting — this is how we become stronger.

SP: Your sartorial style sends a potent message in the ramp-up to a fight night when competitors show up to take the microphone in baggy T-shirts and jeans. I admire how you respect the forum by bringing your A game in terms of tailored suiting. Who are some of your go-to designers for pre-match press conferences?

CM: All my tailoring is done by David August Heil. He’s suited up the likes of Sylvester Stallone, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr. We co-founded a clothing company called August McGregor; we’re enjoying growing the business. In the beginning, I didn’t have two cents for a suit. In my UFC debut as a prelim fighter, I packed my grandfather’s blazer because I knew I was going to perform and get a nice knockout, so I got to wear it for the first time as a winner in Sweden. Back in the day, Lorenzo Fertitta, former UFC CEO took me to see Heil and bought me a boatload of suits to do press.

SP: Speaking of your entrepreneurial instincts, who is your MVP when it comes to Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey?

CM: I’ve got my aces in co-founders Audie Attar and Ken Austin. It’s been a massive success and continues to expand. It’s a lovely liquid, and people are really enjoying it. I also bought a brewery and launched Forged Irish Stout; I control production and we’re in four countries: Ireland, UK, USA, and Sweden, and growing. I’ve got about a thousand parties set for St. Patrick’s Day festivities, between the stout and the whiskey brand.

SP: Let’s get meta. Who are you tapping to play Conor McGregor in the eventual Hollywood biopic? My pick is Tom Hardy, or Tom Holland if the screenplay is an origin story set in your mid-20s. Let’s manifest Ryan Gosling if you think he has the chops!

CM: Tom Holland is amazing in Spiderman. And Tom Hardy is now a Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt and a formidable force on the mat. He’s a frequent competitor, which is great to see for the sport. He’s the real deal for sure. Ryan Gosling is a great actor. So many of these guys are just believable. I mean Jake is 75 movies deep, and you really got to admire that skill level when faced with doing it yourself. All the props in the world to these guys. I was blown away when Jared Leto came out publicly to say he’d want to play Conor McGregor.

SP: Okay, that’s wildly promising, considering his memorable Oscar win.

CM: I know. He’s an absolutely incredible actor who can alter himself in mind-boggling ways for a role. We got to chatting in Cannes at a Spotify party and he told me he’d been studying my mannerisms; we had a good laugh about it all. But he was being completely serious about his interest in the role.

SP: If you had the opportunity to executive produce your own biopic, what decade or phase of your journey do you think would translate most profoundly or engagingly on screen?

CM: Probably my rise to the double world title. Now that was really raw. I was hungry; the hungry lion. I’m kind of like the fat cat now, you know? Powerful. Satisfied. But yeah, that’s not to say that I can’t starve to incite that hunger again… but that would be the most dramatic era. My rise from nothing to something to everything; there are ebbs and flows in the story and, God willing, I pray every day I can keep growing in grace. I’ve got four children and I’m raising them well. They’re here with me today, waiting in the next room. Thanks for diving in so deep with the film. This felt great!

About The Author

Si Si Penaloza's first brush with unbridled luxury came when she was 18 months old, when she toddled from the lobby of Hôtel Ritz Paris into the adjacent Bar Hemingway – only to be busted 15 minutes later. After cutting her teeth as a curator, arts editor and cultural critic, she fell down the rabbit hole of luxury travel. A natural born flâneur, she thrives as a professional lounger – jetting to the world’s top destinations to review hotels and spas for top international outlets. Amid bouts of horizontal hedonism, she’s not immune to the lure of stunt journalism – interviewing Brad Pitt, George Clooney and the cast of Ocean's Thirteen in Cannes, reporting from Prince Harry’s Diamond Jubilee Tour of the Caribbean or racing the Top Gear team through the vineyards of Stellenbosch. She’s also been known to trek the Himalayas in seersucker pajamas, track baby kiwi birds at Cape Kidnappers, observe octopus at 80 feet below in Curaçao and frolic with frisky penguins on Cape Town's Boulder Beach. For editorial consideration please contact editor@jetsetmag(dot)com.

Related Posts