The bookies weren’t exactly surprised this weekend when Khabib successfully defended his undefeated record at UFC 229 against challenger, Conor McGregor. While the post-match brawl that ensued is a major talking point for many, I wanted to go over my thoughts on the fight and where McGregor lost.
Now obviously, McGregor’s going up against the Lightweight Champion and arguably, the pound for pound king in the UFC right now: I’m not saying if he takes the advice in this article he would’ve won, I’m just pointing out a fatal flaw in McGregor’s game plan that also cost him a heavily one-sided fight against Mayweather. I’m going to propose that McGregor should’ve learned a lot from his 30 or so minutes in the ring with boxing’s greatest fighter: something that might have just benefited him in his bout against Khabib.
Let me break it down for you: Mayweather knew that his fitness was always going to be the way that he beat McGregor. That’s why he gassed him out early, got in shots where he could and let his body and conditioning do the rest as the later rounds approached. I’ve always been a massive Mayweather fan, and this video does a good job of just showing the lengths Floyd takes to ensure his body is one cut above the competition’s. Mayweather was also a freak of nature when it came to defense and reaction times – I don’t think I need to provide any evidence to laymen that this is his niche in the sport of boxing.
Now what did we observe from the Khabib McGregor fight? While the Irish superstar made a token effort to avoid takedowns, it was obvious that the defense game of Connor was less than perfect. Again: it’s tough to do against an opponent like Khabib, but it took just 15 seconds for Connor to be down on the ground and in his opponent’s domain. This was basically the story for the first two rounds and Connor was gasping for air just 10 minutes into the fight.
McGregor then had the third round to take over the match with a toe to toe punch-up: something that most people would expect Connor to dominate at. Sadly, his body language suggested that he was less than composed, out of breath and unable to put up much of an offense assault. Connor had a good 3 minutes of standup action, but Khabib seemed to have the upper hand when it came to trading blows during this time.
McGregor had no strength, no coordination, no defense and no energy left: his conditioning will continue to let him down in the ring and in the cage if he doesn’t prepare for the championship rounds. This needs to be what he works on for his next fight. We’re talking daily treadmill routines, stair climbing, wood chopping and so on. He should have no time for the best adult sites and instead, look at getting his stamina up to speed. This will greatly improve his odds in the octagon: being fresh after a 20-minute fight is a surefire way to ensure victory.
The fighting game is a marathon, not a sprint – you should prepare for the worst instead of hoping for the best. Connor should go pay a visit to Bo Sandoval, UFC’s Director of Strength & Conditioning: I’ll even chuck a few bucks on him to win his next fight if he does.