Joe Rogan and Tyron Woodley discuss Ireland's role in Conor McGregor's success
Joe Rogan knew Conor McGregor had an entire nation behind him before most.
As UFC colour commentator, Joe Rogan provided the narration for much of Conor McGregor's rise to MMA superstardom and beyond.
He watched the fandom grow from his debut on the preliminary card of a European fight night to headlining the promotion's blockbuster event in New York. As he told Tyron Woodley on the Joe Rogan MMA show, there are a number of reasons behind McGregor's success.
His nationality is definitely one of them.
"Conor is a weird enigma and whatever reason that guy caught fire the way he did is a weird combination of personality, results, skill and Ireland. Ireland's a big factor. If Conor was from Nebraska, I guarantee you that shit wouldn't happen the way it did."
Reply to @joerogan Thank you very much Joe, that means alot, you are a fucking legend my friend!!
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) January 2, 2013
When Woodley chimed in by saying Ireland was a 'big fight country,' Rogan broke down why it was so much more than that. Ireland not only has a huge combat sports culture, particularly in boxing, but the Irish also have extreme loyalty towards their athletes.
"It's not just a big fight country. The loyalty and the love those people have for the people that fight from Ireland - there's nothing like that. It's a weird anomaly. He's a weird aberration and he gives people almost false hope of what's possible, because I don't know if it's possible with a lot of people. It's lightning in a bottle. For whatever reason, it worked with him."
Poor Artem https://t.co/PrybVksedH
— 🎧🎥 Baz & Andrew’s House of Rugby🏉 (@SportsJOEdotie) January 12, 2018
Rogan then proceeded to flesh out Woodley's point that the UFC brought out the 'jumper cables' to capitalise on McGregor's star power. The UFC may have put the full weight of their promotional powers behind 'the Notorious,' but the reality was, he was already on course to becoming a huge star in Ireland.
"They definitely put the machine behind him, but without the machine behind him there were giant hordes of people flying in from Ireland. I remember some of his earlier fights and I was commenting on them saying, 'This is a guy on the undercard and they're acting like this is the main event of a PPV. They've flown from Ireland. The audience is filled with thousands of people who've flown from Ireland to see this guy."
Now look at him. He's the biggest current draw in combat sports and one of the most recognisable sports stars on the planet.
And it all started in Ireland.