Every Conor McGregor tattoo and the real meanings behind them

Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor's tattoos are almost as famous as his vicious left-hand punch. The chest, abdomen, and left hand of 'The Notorious' are covered in several intriguing pieces of body art - some of them have a deeper meaning behind them, while others, not so much.

As McGregor trains for his UFC return against Dustin Poirier, let's take a look at his tattoos and the significance (or lack thereof) of them.

What tattoos does Conor McGregor have?

Conor McGregor against Marcus Brimage on his UFC debut
Conor McGregor against Marcus Brimage on his UFC debut

Conor McGregor has not had his body covered in ink forever. When he first debuted in UFC back in 2013, the Irishman's body was more or less a blank canvas.

Back then, Conor McGregor only had a couple of tattoos - one right above his left heel in Arabic writing and the spiral helix of thorns connected to a winged crucifix on his back along the spine. Over the years, he added to his body art collection one by one.

There is a Tiger on his abdomen which Conor McGregor got in April, 2015. He posted a picture on social media with the caption, "If you see the Tiger it's too late. You're food."

Above the Tiger, he has his surname 'MCGREGOR' inked all in caps in a vintage script, and below the Tiger is his nickname, 'NOTORIOUS'.

The biggest and most prominent tattoo on his body is on the chest area. It is a rendition of a silverback gorilla wearing a crown and chewing on a heart, with flames coming out from behind its head.

Conor McGregor has a number of tattoos on his left forearm. There is a watch embedded within a 'Rose Bush' showing a time of 3:35. The Rose Bush has a tiny cartoon figure wearing boxing gloves and standing in a punching motion on one end, and a black hatted, moustached gentleman on the other end.

There is a large sword or a dagger going through a rose along the inner arm.

Right above the 'Rose Bush' tattoo, there is another one which says 'SLOW IS SMOOTH, SMOOTH IS FAST'.

What do Conor McGregor's tattoos mean?


Conor McGregor's leg tattoo
Conor McGregor's leg tattoo

The Arabic tattoo on Conor McGregor's left heel is his first one, but he has no idea what it stands for. He got it while drunk many years ago in Ayia Napa in Cyprus when he was young and not very decisive.

"This was when I was drunk. It could mean anything. Arabic writing was the thing for a while, it was the cool thing to do. I got it in Ayia Napa (Cyprus). I was young and on holiday. It cost me €20."


Conor McGregor's neck and back tattoo
Conor McGregor's neck and back tattoo

The winged crucifix and the spiral helix of thorns on his nape and back gave his fans and followers the idea that Conor McGregor was perhaps an ardent Catholic by faith. However, 'The Notorious' himself dismissed any such idea in his own trademark style.


Conor McGregor's forearm tattoo
Conor McGregor's forearm tattoo

Conor McGregor once said about his tattoos in an interview that he does not care at all about their meanings. He just loves the way they look on his skin.

"You hear people say like they have a goldfish on their ass cheek and it means it’s a symbol of hope. Something like that. I just like the way it looks on my body. I don’t spend months picking it, I just see it, get it and just enjoy the experience of being inked on my body for the rest of my life. I don’t know what it is."

His tweet about his neck and back tattoo is probably a testament to the same sentiment. The same can be said about his forearm tattoos as well. The meaning or significance of the rose bush, pocket watch, sword/dagger, and the Irish gentleman is not known as of yet.

But not all his tattoos are meaningless.

The 'SLOW IS SMOOTH, SMOOTH IS FAST' is taken from a Navy Seal saying, which refers to the art of taking one's time towards perfection. It can very well describe Conor McGregor's fighting style inside the Octagon.


Conor McGregor's chest tattoo
Conor McGregor's chest tattoo

The gorilla on Conor McGregor's chest with a crown and a heart in its mouth is a homage to his coach John Kavanagh's gym, Straight Blast Gym in Ireland. He said in an interview that although it isn't the particular gorilla from the gym's logo, it is definitely a throwback.

"My gym’s logo is a Gorilla. It’s not that particular gorilla. But it’s a gorilla. So I wanted to get something along with that line. I feel like I am the king Gorilla so I took the crown and I had him eat a heart. It felt right."


Conor McGregor's abdomen tattoo
Conor McGregor's abdomen tattoo

The surname and the nickname above and below the Tiger is a no-brainer. Conor McGregor is proud of his lineage and his legacy, and is not at all shy of displaying that on his body.

The Tiger tattoo came into being because Conor McGregor finds it a symbol of courage.

"The Tiger has been jumping out at me sometimes. It feels like it almost means something. I think Tiger is a courageous animal. So I like the Tiger and I decided to go and get it."

Who did Conor McGregor's Gorilla tattoo?

Not much is known about where Conor McGregor got his gorilla tattoo or who his trusted artist is.

Instagram user Sideshow Tattoo 310 did the Tiger tattoo on his abdomen and posted a picture of 'The Notorious' with his friend at the tattoo parlor.

Conor McGregor next faces Dustin 'The Diamond' Poirier at UFC 257 on January 23, 2021. The headlining bout will be at Lightweight.

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Edited by Sai Krishna