How McGregor Dominates: Social Breakdown

conor mcgregor picture

If you are interested in how to dominate socially -or if you are interested in Conor McGregor-, you came to the right page.

In the research I have done on Conor McGregor some time ago I came across a few interesting traits and moves that he plays to position himself as the most dominant man in the room.

How McGregor Dominates

Conor McGregor always makes a point to be seen as a socially dominant man, and that makes him a good subject for a case study.

Let’s begin:

#1. Stand Out

Court attention at all costs says the 48 Laws of Power.
You won’t be dominant at anything being the social wallflower of the situation.

You don’t want to exaggerate and come across as a narcissist hogging attention to feed a little ego. That’s weak. But you do want to stand out in a positive way.

Great posture, above-average grooming, taking up space, looking comfortable, nice fitting clothes, and speaking up are all positive elements of standing out. Conor McGregor uses all of them.

#2. Lead – And Follow Shrewdly

Dominance, authority positions, and leadership are not the same thing, but there’s a certain overlap.

Here’s the thing though: nobody can lead or dominate all the time, and while “leading” is an abundantly discussed topic, “following” astutely is probably even more important and much less understood.

Holding your own when someone tries to dominate you or when you have no other choice but to follow or yield territory is what differentiates the very top-value men from the rest.

Usually, you do it by assessing quickly whether or not you can avoid following, avoid obeying, or can successfully negotiate a better outcome.

When you can’t, the focus is minimizing the social impact of being a follower while keeping your composure.
A few guidelines for doing so effectively:

  • Beat Him To The Punch: do what you’re supposed to do before being asked to-;
  • Lead Back: Lead in another smaller area. The waiter was rough telling you to move out of the way so he can serve the drinks. Move and then chaperone him with a hand on his arm while saying “this way please”
  • Objectify Him: remain cold and detached, don’t say sorry, look at him in the eyes, and never smile as if he were an object -McGregor does it in the video below-
  • Thank Him: Might seem counteractive, but “thank you” is a powerful way of framing the interaction as if he’s done a pleasure for you. The cop made you walk all the way back because you crossed the crime scene? “Thank you for keeping our streets safe for us”

It’s in Italian but just notice the body language:


  • Clooney stands up before being asked
  • Clooney invited Terry to sit while patting him on the back as if he were leading him to sit

#3. Dominant Body Language

Dominance is mostly conveyed by nonverbal. Here are two examples from Conor McGregor’s video:

Nod Up, Not Down

Nodding down, what 98% of the people do, is a sign of submissiveness.

Do nod down when you want to show yourself as non-threatening -ie.: meeting a woman at night-.
But don’t down in neutral situations where there’s no need for submissiveness and never in the presence of anyone trying to intimidate you.

Try to look at this interview at 2x speed only focusing on the interviewer and it will really hit home -it’s painful, I know, but you can do it :)-

Splayed Legs & Arms Swinging

Splayed legs and arms swinging are popular signs of confidence (Joe Navarro, 2009).

Conon McGregor does it a bit too theatrically maybe.

James Bond has a less showy and more purposeful-looking walk. At 23 seconds:

#4. Ask For Investment

It does not have to be in a bad way, but dominance certainly entails getting people to change their stance for you or do something for you.

And science tells us that the more people do for you, the more they feel you deserve it.

If you never do, try asking more from the people around you. As a guy who was in the habit of “always doing things on his own,” I can tell you it’s very likely you will find many who are glad to do something more for you.

As Machiavelli says in The Prince:

Don’t do yourself what you can let others do for you

#5. Avoid Investment

By the same token, you should avoid any unreasonable investment others demand of you.

For example some weeks ago at a bar, a woman sitting with a man motioned me to go over at their table. What did she want?

It looked like she wanted me to join them for a drink. I was curious, but at the same time beckoning someone you don’t know is a major request to make.
Those kinds of requests, you never comply with because they are a form of social shit tests:

Girls: (gesturing to go over) Can you please take our pictures?”
You: (smirking) I wish I could but my hand shakes

Here is The Power Moves version of Machiavelli’s rule:

Never do what others can do for themselves.

#6. Impose Your Will

Dominance entails the possibility of imposing one’s will over the environment and the people around, and it’s divided into three categories:

  • Actual Power
    Actual Power doesn’t mean you will impose on others no matter what but it does mean you could impose your will. An enlightened monarch is as dominant -if not more- than an unjust despot. But the enlightened one can equally impose his will, or he wouldn’t be a monarch.
  • Behavioral Power
    You might not overpower your opponent but you behave as if you can always have your say and you’re not afraid of getting your hands dirty. Even at the risk of losing out. It’s actually more impressive when a weaker party steps up to the plate.
  • Mental Power
    We human beings tend to act dominant when we’ve got people on our side and when we feel our opinions will be accepted. But real domination starts within yourself. And it means you’ve got the mental power of sticking to your values and standing for what you believe is right, no matter the environment around you.

The actual power of imposing one’s will can be the dark side which gives the noun “dominance” a bad reputation.

It’s then up to each one of us to dominate for good. Jesus for example was heroically dominant when he stepped in and uttered the famous words “let him who’s without sin cast the first stone“.

How to be dominant example: jesus christ

#7. Be The Center of Attention

You don’t (necessarily) seek attention, but people seek your attention because your opinion matters.

Jesus christ showing dominance over the disciples


How to become more dominant is less a matter of physical signals as it’s a matter of the beliefs and confidence underpinning those signals.

Dominance can be used for having a positive and net value impact on the world, or it can be used to dominate people out of selfishness.

The latter is when you should step in and stand up. And the more you learn about Power Moves, the more you’ll be able to.

Try Hard Warning

McGregor’s way of dominance is often a bit juvenile (also see: the archetypes of dominance).

Overplaying all these traits can easily make you come across as trying hard and a bit childish.

A stronger, more powerful way of showing dominance is that of the Godfather, for example. See here the quieter dominance style: The Godfather.

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