McGregor sister packs a punch as bodybuilder

FeaturesBy Denise Smith
Erin McGregor (Pics:David Andrew Photography)
Erin McGregor (Pics:David Andrew Photography)
Erin with brother Conor
Erin with brother Conor

UFC sensation Conor McGregor may be at the top of his game, but he’s not the only one in his family that can pack a punch.

While the mixed martial arts superstar is now regarded as the poster boy of UFC, his older sister Erin (below with Conor) has made waves in the bodybuilding world.

The 33-year-old knockout, who has won at a competitive level, reveals that it was her larger-than-life brother who proved to be her ultimate inspiration – admitting that they bonded over their stringent diets and training regimes.

“I was totally naive going into the bodybuilding scene. There is a huge amount of sacrifice,” reveals the blonde bombshell.

 “It was only when I began to compete that I turned to my mam one day and said: ‘Now I truly understand how hard Conor works.’

“You are really pushing your body to its limit, so there were definite low periods,” says the Crumlin beauty, who last competed in 2013.

“Whenever I was low Conor was on the other end of the phone. I remember him saying: ‘No-one realises what it’s like until they’ve done it themselves.’ We forged this mutual respect that I suppose we never had before.”

Proving that the fighting spirit runs in the family, Erin is now looking ahead to Conor’s highly-anticipated clash with featherweight champ Jose Aldo in Las Vegas this July.

“It’s unbelievable to see one of your loved ones achieving their dreams. When he comes out to fight I will be the ultimate crazy sister, you will see me jumping up and down with the Irish flag.”

Speaking of the astounding support from home, Erin says: “The Irish fans are just amazing, they are with you 100 per cent, every chant, every scream. Their energy alone gives you goosebumps.

“Vegas is unbelievable when the Irish are there. They won’t know what to do with us.”

The sculpted fitness fanatic isn’t just Conor’s No.1 fan, she’s also the woman behind his signature hairstyle, with the man-bun now the most-in-demand hairstyle for fashion-forward men.

The talented hairdresser says: “Everyone loves Conor’s hair and so many men want it, it’s so funny. It’s great to be able to express my creativity through him.”

And Erin says that her younger brother has always been ahead of the game when it comes to fashion.

“He’s very stylish he always has been, it runs in our family.”

Since the airing of RTE’s six-part fly-on-the-wall documentary The Notorious, which includes exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of McGregor and his family, Erin says she’s getting used to being recognised.

“I was just outside Tour America and some guy said: ‘You were on the telly, I saw you in Boston can I get a photo?’  We get stopped all the time when we are away at fights, it’s happening more and more.

“People want to know what it’s like to have cameras around you, but it just feels normal.

As far as continuing with her bodybuilding career, the stunning mum of one says she wasn’t prepared for the criticism that came with the competitive fitness world.

“You are critiqued on stage and that can be difficult. After months of training, someone is telling you that your legs aren’t big enough, your arms aren’t big enough, that you’re not good enough.”

 “Comments like that definitely affected me and how I looked at my body.”

Searching for that illusive ‘perfect’ body, Erin says she had no idea of the emotional consequences that surfaced as a result.

“I was always very body conscious and I was way too critical of myself. I’ve probably done a lot of damage to myself and to my self-esteem. You think that having the perfect body is going to make you happy, that it will help you find love, that it will make a better you.”

Her gruelling regimen included up to three hours of exercise a day, meaning she put all of her energy into perfecting her form.

“For the 12 weeks running up to the competition it completely took over my life. I thoroughly applaud everyone who takes part, but that’s when I kind of thought, is it worth it?

“In the end I said to myself I am just going to do what makes me happy and not what it takes to win a trophy.”