Writing a think piece about the type of man the real Conor McGregor is, based on the character he portrays in the UFC, is akin to carrying out a psychoanalysis of actor Brian Capron based purely on his portrayal of Richard Hillman in Coronation Street.
It's not real life.
When McGregor speaks, he's creating a story. He isn't going around shouting 'Oy pea head!' at random people in the street. All sports -outside of the arena - are inherently ludicrous. Whether it be MMA, WWE, football or GAA, as fans we buy into the storylines, not just the art itself. I trust Jose Mourinho is a very different person at home with his family.
If McGregor was purely relying on his skill in the octagon, then I highly doubt he nor the UFC Featherweight division would be in the position it is now. There would be no title fight to look forward to, no biggest UFC event ever on FOX and without doubt, most importantly, he wouldn't have had my mother inquiring 'How did that McGregor fella get on the other night?'
He has gotten bums on seats and eyes on screens; bums and eyes which may not be interested in MMA otherwise. McGregor eluded to this himself in RTÉ's documentary:
Go now and say what you’re going to do to this man and the rest of these people in this division. Say how you’re going to obliterate them, how you’re going to eliminate the whole division, wipe them out. That gets you from there to here…
I have this game exactly where I want it, by the scruff of the neck. Straight from the go. Two fights I’ve only had on a prelim card and I’m headlining a fight at home. People can hate and say what they want, but look what it’s after getting.
What is the real Conor McGregor like? He's driven, he's an excellent MMA fighter and a world class marketer – aside from that we don't know. Maybe he's an insufferable arsehole, maybe he's not but we can't cast aspersions based on his trash-talking when trying to promote his matches. Cross the line sometimes, he might but again that comes with the role of a heel when trying to generate heat and for some, will make it all the sweeter if he gets his comeuppance.
His ability to blur the lines between reality and theatre has certainly made his rise more interesting and, at the end of the day, whether you want to see him beat his opponent or whether you long for him to get beat he doesn't care; as long as you want to see him.
Crap, I'm almost straying into a think piece here...