Champion of Mixed Martial Arts for the UFC, for years now “The Notorious” has been the favourite portrait of many tattooists who would like to relive his deeds.
“We’re not here just to take part – we’re here to take over” (Conor McGregor)
I guess you all know him or at least have heard of him once in your life. Conor Mc Gregor, born in Ireland in 1988, is a mixed martial arts fighter affiliated with the powerful American organisation UFC.
One of his greatest sporting moments was his defeat by KO of the American Eddie Alvarez at the famous UFC 205 held in New York on 12th November 2016.
Following that match Conor – a guy who started out in life as a plumber – became the first fighter in the UFC to hold two world titles simultaneously and the third ever to win the belt in two weight categories.
The year after, in 2017, the man nicknamed “The Notorious” also made his debut in the world of professional boxing, losing honourably (a technical knockout in the tenth round) against the undefeated (and just as cocky) Floyd Mayweather Jr.
More than as a sporting match, McGregor vs. Mayweather Jr. went down in the annals of boxing as an unprecedented box office and media event (with stratospheric earnings on pay tv).
But far harder to swallow for McGregor was the defeat (submission in the fourth round) at the hands of Chabib Nurmagomedov, the Russian who had become his bitter rival who in Las Vegas on 6th November 2018 cost him the UFC Lightweight Championship; nonetheless, McGregor, who had his first fight in 2008, still has an outstanding record with 22 victories and just 4 defeats in his career.
A record, let’s not forget, that he updated in Las Vegas on 18th January 2020 when he defeated another American Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, by TKO 40 seconds into the first round. An “easy” fight, according to MMA commentators, but still a win for McGregor. In 2020 his name is still on the map.
Which begs the question: where does this colossal show of strength and power come from? First of all, we have to take a look at his close training circle – the famous Team McGregor whose crest Conor proudly wears on his chest – which has gradually moulded his innate talent into an unstoppable modern fighting machine.
Let’s take a look at his defence style. Fighting from a southpaw stance, McGregor uses a sideways position which owes a lot to Taekwondo. On the attack, his right hand goes for contact with his opponent’s left while his left strikes from cunning unexpected angles.
“The Notorious” dodges blows with his rapid, almost “remote controlled” movements of the torso and head. A computer without any glitches. A man with quick reflexes but also admirable distance management.
Kicks are not a strong point in his technical skills, including his mediocre Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, although in his second match against “trash talker” Nate Diaz on 20th August 2016 (won in the fifth round) he showed the world he had a good leg kick. When he is kicked by his adversaries, McGregor has an enviable body equilibrium.
But watch out: this extra strength of his has often been decisive in his twenty-two victories.
His obsessive attention to balance (both physical and mental) comes from his intensive work with Ido Portal, “Movement Culture” trainer-guru, who day by day teaches McGregor his (at times visionary) secrets of flexibility, control and body adaptation. All lessons which Portal explains owe much to yoga, dance and artistic gymnastics.
Above and beyond his physical qualities and the frontal combat skills of a true striker, he possesses an inner calm and unlimited self-confidence which makes this ex-plumber from South Dublin a modern day idol and a marketing product with limitless potential.
Elegant, arrogant, always deliberately over the top in his comments on social media (especially Twitter) and then suddenly monk-like and lethal when the time comes to enter the ring and annihilate his adversaries: this, in 2020, is Conor McGregor. Enjoy!