Move over Conor McGregor, there’s a new Irish fighter in town — 10-year-old MMA champ Nathan Kelly.
The Dubliner shot to fame this week when he made a very public appeal for UFC chief Dana White to sign him — plucky Nathan stood up at the Aldo v McGregor press conference and asked for an advance on his future paycheck.
“Dana, I’m five-time national kickboxing champion. I’m Irish and British champion at jiu jitsu, and I’m a world medallist at kick boxing so I guarantee that I’m gonna be strapping that gold belt around my waist,” he said.
Nathan’s words were met with raucous cheers, with the crowd bursting into a chorus of “Sign him up. Sign him up”. A video of the exchange has since gone viral. Nathan and his mother have been inundated with interview requests, and had to choose between doing The Saturday Night Show and The Late Late Show this week.
“Nathan picked The Late Late because I think he wants to ask them for tickets to the Toy Show,” laughed his mother, Sarah. “Louis Copeland are even going to give him a suit to wear on the night, the whole thing is just a whirlwind.”
Nathan first began training when he was just four-years-old. A “hyperactive” child, his mother thought martial arts would tire him out and give him something to focus his energy on.
“He took to it like a duck out of water and he just took off on the very first day and all that extra energy that he had and everything he just used it on the mats and he was like a totally different child. We’re gonna do everything we can to make sure he gets the best and that he gets to train with the best.”
Of course, Nathan already trains with the notorious Conor McGregor — the formidable duo both go to the same gym on the Naas Road.
“I know Conor very well, he’s just amazing down at the gym, like, he has time for me. He’ll show me a move, I’ll show him a move. Like there’s videos of us up on YouTube and one got like 50,000 views,” said Nathan, speaking to John Murray on RTÉ Radio One. “I’m gonna be better than Conor. I don’t think anything’s gonna stop me from my road up to getting that UFC belt.”