In his 12 years of UFC combat, Conor McGregor has developed a reputation as one of the most pugnacious pugilists the fighting world has ever seen.
But the 32-year-old brawler displayed his softer side this week when he announced his engagement to longtime partner Dee Devlin.
McGregor shared the news on Instagram, in casual but loving fashion.
“What a birthday, my future wife,” Conor captioned the photo above.
When his followers pieced together that Conor had popped the question in celebration of Dee’s birthday, the congratulatory comments started pouring in from fans, friends, and even former foes.
“Congratulations to you and Dee!!!” wrote Russian MMA fighter Artem Lobov.
“Congratulations! Many blessings,” echoed women’s former bantamweight champ Holly Holm, who’s perhaps most famous for handing Ronda Rousey her first-ever loss.
Conor and Dee’s love story is well-known to UFC fans.
They’ve been together since Conor was an impoverished up-and-comer, and he often credits Dee with his success in the ring, noting that he might have given up on himself, were it not for her love and support.
Dee grew up just four minutes away from Conor’s childhood home in the Dublin suburb of Crumlin.
They’ve been together since 2008, and together, they have two children — 3-year-old son Conor Jack Jr. and 1-year-old daughter Croia.
“Every day since I started in this game, she’s supported me,” McGregor told VIP Magazine in 2013.
“She’d drive me to the gym, and she’d listen to all my dreams. I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for her,” he added.
Conor says that while he and Dee grew up about a mile away from one another, they didn’t become acquainted until their early twenties, just as he was beginning his fighting career.
“I knew her a bit beforehand, but I think the first time I spoke to her properly was when I saw her in a nightclub,” he said.
“I asked her to come over and we just started chatting. She seemed like a nice girl, and I like good girls.”
Shortly after Conor became a household name in the world of UFC, Dee granted an interview in which she spoke giddily about McGregor making both of their dreams come true.
“I’ve always supported him, so I’m glad that it’s come to fruition for him, and for us, really,” she said at the time.
“We’re going to make a living out of this now and it’s great! It makes me go a bit gooey inside when he says that he’s working hard for me.”
Together, Dee and Conor have gone from impoverished obscurity to fabulous wealth and worldwide fame.
Though the accompanying media attention has brought its share of headaches over the years (including an unfounded rumor that McGregor cheated on Devlin while she was pregnant), Conor and Dee have each persevered with their sense of humor intact.
“He’s very funny,” Dee said in a recent interview.
“He always keeps me entertained and makes me laugh.”
Well, if there’s one thing Conor McGregor knows how to do — besides bash opponents’ skulls in with his fists — it’s provide entertainment.
We’re sure he and Dee are in for many exciting years together.
Our sincere congrats go out to one of the sporting world’s most beloved couples!