In the UFC, champions come and go, but there’s never been an athlete like Conor McGregor. The Irishman, who returns to the Octagon on January 23 against Dustin Poirier, is larger than life, an iconoclast in the same mold as Muhammed Ali, Floyd Mayweather, or Russell Westbrook. While his mouth may run and run and run, it’s backed up by legendary victories and a wicked striking game. The same holds true for his signature style, to which no one in the UFC or mixed martial arts has come close: carefully tailored suits, oversized sunglasses, and a manicured beard that oozes cool. It seems totally in character, then, that he’d follow the lead of other larger-than-life athletes who have launched their own clothing brands, most recently with a collaboration with Roots of Fight, and, most expansively, his signature label August McGregor.
“Conor set the bar for all athletes that there should be an arrival presence, regardless of the sport,” says Michael Montanez, director of marketing and commerce for August McGregor’s parent company David August Inc. “All of the brand is a small fragment of his attributes.”
The company’s history far pre-dates McGregor’s debut in the UFC, and it begins with bespoke tailor David Heil. While his most famous clients include NFL, PGA, and NBA players (the late Kobe Bryant, among others), Heil also outfitted Brad Pitt, Bruce Springsteen, and Elon Musk. Names also on that list: UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta and president Dana White. When a young McGregor was preparing for his first time in the Octagon in 2013, White connected the two, and that relationship continued and grew as McGregor’s star rose. At the Mayweather boxing match, the deal was officially struck, and around the time of the Khabib Nurmagomedov fight, in August 2018, August McGregor released its first capsule.
It’s been four capsules now, the last of which was released in November 2020, along with countless collaborations with small independent brands, including hats with Putnam Accessory Group, jackets with Bobbi Parka, and most recently a line of premium denim with New York’s Prps. It’s all limited release and drops throughout the year, especially around big events for McGregor. Does that mean something prior to the Poirier fight? “I’ll say that we’re furiously working on a couple of design concepts,” says Montanez, “and to look out through email and social within the next week.”
What began as a suiting brand has since expanded — after all, McGregor can’t be in a three-piece all the time — into athleisure, fleece, denim, and beyond. It starts with Heil, who selects patterns and styles he believes are emblematic of the fighter, and then McGregor selects those which fit his brand. Eye-catching patterned trousers, subtle short-sleeve button-downs, and t-shirts with playful personal watercraft graphics all make an appearance. While it’s ready to outfit the upscale man for just about every occasion, the through line is all about the confidence that the fighter is so well known for.
“With Conor, you can put him in anything and he’s going to own it,” Montanez says. “No matter what you have and how you wear it, it’s really more about confidence, right?”