The line between acting and martial arts has been blurred for many years now, dating back to when legends like Bruce Lee brought Jeet Kune Do to the big screen in his classic movies. Since those golden days of ‘Kung Fu Cinema’, other well known martial artist/actors include Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Steven Segal (kinda), Brandon Lee, Chuck Norris and many others have seen fame using their respective fight skills in the flicks. Of those that really made it big time, one name stands out above the rest in the 1980’s and 90’s; Jean Claude Van Damme, and the ‘The Muscles From Brussels’ believes he has the next fighter-come actor pegged.
Conor McGregor, according to JCVD, will make the transition to Hollywood movie roles in the near future. ‘The Notorious’ is known for his brash and outspoken antics outside of the UFC octagon, and has fought his way to a UFC 189 featherweight title clash with his bitter rival Jose Aldo. Talking to Bruce Buffer, and as picked up by MMAFighting.com, the star of ‘Bloodsport’ and ‘Kickboxer’ says the Irish sensation will become tempted by the lure of the big screen roles:
“McGregor is always going to be moving a step forward,” said Van Damme. “He likes to elevate himself in fighting, philosophy, he’s reading books, he’s trying to learn his way. He’s not stupid. He has to do what he has to do. He’s a good guy. He loves people. Him being a movie star is really a true warrior. He’ll make a film or two or three, for sure, because he wants to touch everything. In his heart he’s a true warrior.”
“A guy like McGregor, he’s got that type of thing,” said Van Damme. “He’s hungry. It’s new for him. He appreciates the money with a big smile. He’s saying it out loud. He’s living a very great adventure. This is the time when you go from nothing to being bored. I’m advising him to enjoy every second of the day.”
With his raw talent, ability and larger than life character, McGregor would probably fit in well in the role of a martial arts bad guy, but where does he fit in the UFC title picture? Van Damme is undecided as to who will win the belt at UFC 189, as he continued:
“It’s going to be hard to beat [McGregor] because he’s fighting with this, plus the techniques and his height. Plus he’s got the Irish people behind him and he created a connection between him and the audience of his early fights and he wants to be loved.”
“McGregor is a great fighter if he can use his legs as good as his fists,” said Van Damme. What he has that not too many people have is the eye. [Fedor] Emelianenko was not really in shape, but his eye. He’s got that, but what McGregor has is hunger and he’s training every day.”
“To be honest with you, I love McGregor and I love Aldo. Those two guys, you’ve got a Lamborghini and a Ferrari. You’ve got the guy from the street. He’s strong, all over the place. Not in a bad way. Like a monkey. Bam bam, he’s all over the place. He’s fast. He goes forward. He’s imprevisible [unpredictable].”
“McGregor has one thing nobody has in his division. He can go backwards as the same time he’s hitting. When a guy runs at him and he can go backwards and he’s hitting the guy. It’s very dangerous. He’s got the length to go forward and the technique to go backwards.”
McGregor’s size advantage at 145 pounds is undeniable, as is the fact that he dwarfs current featherweight boss Jose Aldo when toe-to-toe. His two-year rise to prominence in the promotion is unparalleled, and who’s to say that Van Damme isn’t right in predicting a future job as an actor for McGregor?
One thing that isn’t a sure bet is the outcome on July 11th when Aldo and McGregor face off. In fact, there is a stench of the event being in jeopardy with this recent drug test controversy. Maybe McGregor’s prophecy is coming true?