Watch: 'He gives us something no one else in Irish sport can'- fans in Las Vegas laud Conor McGregor
Published 12/12/2015 | 10:55
They were briefly the apple of Holly Holm's eye but four fight fans from Cork insist there is only one UFC superstar for them.
The quartet took centre stage at a raucous fan question and answer session with the UFC's new bantamweight champion at the MGM Grand on Friday. With an army of Irish fans - in various states of revelry - stepping up to pose questions to the woman who stunned Ronda Rousey last month.
But Declan, Dean, Cian and Ian grabbed Holm's attention with their alternating custom-made festive shirts that had the thousands in attendance in stitches. Afterwards the Irish Independent caught up with the four but their attentions had already switched to the real reason they had crossed the Atlantic.
Tonight's UFC 194 showdown with featherweight king Jose Aldo will be their third time to roar on the Notorious one in the US this year alone. They said the 27-year-old gives them something that nothing in Irish sport can match.
"We got in Wednesday. We've been to Boston [when McGregor defeated , we were here in July and we just had to come back again. How can you miss it?" they told the Irish Independent.
"He's got that IT factor. Yeah he's Irish but he's got that intangible, indescribable factor. He attracts an audience who want to be entertained and he always does that. It's not like we're going to follow the soccer team for that. Or the rugby team after the World Cup.
"The footballers have got to the Euros and we'll probably go along to that too but there's nothing, no one in Irish sport who gives [us] what Conor McGregor does. He says the right things and then he goes and does the right things, as a fan you can ask for no more than that, can you?"
In spite of the clearly harsh effects of the weight cut had on McGregor, the four were in positive mood as they looked forward to a showdown that is on track to shatter records tonight.
"Confidence is high," they said. "He can win it, of course he can win it. Two of us are thinking third-round knock-out. One of us, who should be named for it, has put some money on Aldo but we're confident!"
But back to Holm. After asking her to pick out which of the four had the honour of the best shirt, the champion opted right away for Ian's green number, telling him he should couple it with a Tricolour skirt. Her attentions elicited a rapid response from home.
"Holly wants me," he laughed. "She announced me as the winner and not two seconds later my phone buzzed and it was my girlfriend. 'Who the hell is she?' is all she said. I don't think my girlfriend could take Holly Holm but in the mood she was in going on that text message...anything is possible.