Lincoln City midfielder Alan Power has expressed his hope that Conor McGregor has been following his FA Cup exploits this season.
The non-league side have defied the odds to make it to the last sixteen of the competition and, along with fellow National League side Sutton United, will look to carry out one what would be one of the biggest shocks in FA Cup history when they travel to Premier League side Burnley on Saturday.
Power, a former Ireland under-21 international, will almost certainly start in that game, and in an interview with Luke Edwards of the Telegraph, gave an insight into what it was like growing up in Dublin with the man that would go on to win both the UFC featherweight and lightweight titles.
“He’s someone I admire greatly, what he has achieved, it’s remarkable. We used to knock around in the same circle of friends back home when we were growing up. He played Sunday League football where I did, actually he wasn’t a bad footballer, but he chose a different path.
“He made the right decision, he’s a better fighter than a footballer, but who knows, I might have been the same!
“I’ve not spoken to him in years, he’s a superstar now. The last time I spoke to him he was cage fighting in Dublin and wasn’t too sure if he was going to continue with it, but he’s a phenomenon.”
The 29-year-old came to the attention of social media last month when he scored a penalty in Lincoln’s 3-1 win against Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion – and celebrated by mimicking McGregor’s famous strut as his celebration:
— Scott Beanland (@Scotbean147) January 28, 2017
Power explained that the celebration was his way of paying tribute to his childhood friend, and hopes that by now McGregor might have seen it:
“The goal celebration caused a bit of storm.
“While we were waiting around to take the penalty, Terry Hawkridge came up to me and said I had to do it if I scored.
“He’s a busy man, he’s got bigger things to worry about than a footballer he used to know from Lincoln, but I hope he’s seen it.”
Aside from the FA Cup, Power and the Imps have been involved in a promotion battle in the National League; they are currently top of the table and promotion to the Football League is very much in their sights.