Friday 6 December 2019

Five reasons why Conor McGregor is the real deal

Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor

Fergus Ryan

Conor McGregor will be the main UFC attraction this weekend at the O2. Here are five reasons why ‘Notorious’ can walk the walk.

McGregor will take on Brazilian Diego Brandao in the first UFC event in the capital since 2009 and his opponent will have to bear the following in mind.

McGregor walks the talk

The fight game is notorious for big talkers. But sometimes actions in the ring aren’t as impressive as the chatter in the build-up.

While Conor’s ability was evident from the start the talking didn’t really begin in earnest till he signed with Cage Warriors Fighting Championship. With a few wins under his belt he began calling for a featherweight title fight, which he duly won. He then said he would make history becoming a multi weight champion with Cage Warriors. Six months after winning the featherweight title he added his second world championship belt by stepping up to lightweight and knocking out his opponent in the 1st round.

Conor continued to narrate his own career by talking about blasting his way into the UFC (signed in February 2013), kicking the door open for his team-mates and fellow countrymen (there will be 5 Irish fighters on the UFC Dublin card on Saturday. Only Norman Parke was already with the UFC prior to Conor) and laying waste to all challengers in the UFC’s featherweight division en route to the title. So far so good, a win on Saturday is another step closer to the UFC title shot

Speed + Power = Kaboom

Conor is fast. His hand speed, sharp head movement and swift footwork mean opponents are often punching where he was, not where he is. This allows him counter strike with great effect. He also has tremendous power in his punches giving him a real efficiency of effort. He only needs to land once and it’s the beginning of the end.

Conor McGregor

He knows how to become a world champion

In the MMA documentary “Barbaric Gentlemen” Conor’s coach, John Kavanagh describes how easy it is to become a world champion in MMA – ‘it just has to be your every waking moment’. At the pre-fight press conference for UFC Dublin Conor described how he has gone to the cinema and 5 minutes in to the film he is thinking about MMA movements and positions. By the time the film is 20 minutes old he has no clue of the storyline. This is fine, because it allows him spend the rest of the time in the quiet of the cinema thinking about MMA. He has also been known to spring out of bed in the dead of night to shadow box in front of a mirror. To say MMA is in Conor’s every waking moment is putting it mildly.

He is a Mixed Martial Artist, emphasis on the Mixed

The most successful fighters today are proficient in wrestling (grappling), boxing (striking with hands), Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (submission holds via joint locks and chokes) and muay Thai (striking with hands and feet). Conor is excellent in all of these disciplines.

When you’re so good in the striking arts, as Conor is, some will mistakenly believe you focus training almost entirely on this area to the detriment of working on your wrestling or submissions. While Conor’s career is littered with KO finishes he has put the hours in working on all facets of MMA to make him a well-rounded fighter.

Regardless of where his fights have taken place, whether striking on the feet or grappling on the ground, Conor has rarely been in trouble in a fight and it’s a long time since he lost.

McGregor is box-office

Every fighter makes the walk from the backstage area to the prep point just outside the Octagon in broadly the same fashion. They get called, their music starts to play, they walk out into the arena with the house lights on, the TV camera picks them up as they make their way through the crowd.

UFC champions get something a little different. The first thing that happens is the house lights drop. Its known as ‘the blackout’. Then the TV cameras go deep into the bowels of the arena to catch champ and his corner men having their final moments, then the music starts, there’s a mini light show as the champ appears in the arena and then he makes his walk to the Octagon.

In Conor McGregor’s 2nd fight in Boston, he got ‘the blackout’. His fight was in the preliminary portion of the card with still another 7 fights till the main event.

The UFC consider him a superstar and he’s only fought twice.


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