Conor McGregor became famous not only because of his sharp tongue: the Irish fighting technique was always fascinating, forcing fans and haters alike to follow his every move in the octagon. There is no magic in it, the whole secret lies in the combination of flexibility and strength that McGregor’s body equally possesses.
Conor and his coaches try to focus not on working with large weights, but on developing maximum movement intelligence in the fighter’s body. Unpredictability and speed are two qualities of McGregor, thanks to which he for a very long time remained on the podium of the best UFC fighter in two divisions.
Everything Conor does in the octagon is just the result of daily training, significantly different from the program of any other fighter. We want to share with you the circular training that McGregor used while at his best. But let’s start with the warm-up and stretch that the fighter performs before each of his workouts.
Conor McGregor strength training
John Cavana, head coach of Conor McGregor at the Straight Blast in Dublin, believes that the boxing and kickboxing past played an important role and benefited Conor. Cavana always strives for his fighters to have a refined battle technique before they enter the cage. “Instead of throwing a deuce like a straight right, they begin to learn to control a long uppercut with their backhand,” Cavana says. “Many boxers who use boxing skills in MMA swing their back arm too much, which becomes a direct or a hook, and these two blows are just what a wrestler needs to dive and drop you.”
Over the past four years, Conor McGregor has honed his striking skills, practicing them on his feet with a Muay-May trainer and MMA fighter Owen Roddy. “We did this for 30 minutes 3-4 times a week. A 10-minute warm-up containing basic combinations such as jab-cross-hook or jab-cross-hook-right. Then we begin to work on the reaction. I hit him in the hull, and his reaction may be an uppercut-left hook-right. If I make a left hook to the head, it responds with a different combination. If I throw away the jab, he cuts it and returns. Then we practice it, and he already has a developed reaction to most of my attacks. We run 3-4 combinations, then a break, and then I give him a signal to throw kicks. Conor likes to mix. By the end of the combination, I shorten the distance and he works out other punches.”
Cavana also uses paws to simulate a live battle to help Conor improve his sense of amplitude. “When I work with someone on their feet, after striking a fighter, I step back a little,” he says. “When people work on their paws, the trainer always greets with a twosome. When I meet the cross, the gloves feel normal, but when we switch to sparring when you turn on and throw the jab out to me, my reaction is to slide back from the access area. When you throw out the twos, you’re already out of reach, and you need to lean forward to get me. Too much leg work can ruin the leg work because you will get used to the paw meeting your right hand. But during sparring, the opponent deviates, and in the end, you start to fall over with your right hand. If you fight with such a good boxer as Conor, he slips away, and you completely lose control of balance.”
Cavana also hones combinations under MMA. “For me, MMA is a little different than pure boxing,” he continues. “You can’t just go and make a combination of five hits. Twos often pass, and then you need to retreat because otherwise you will be taken to the clinch or transferred to the stalls. Therefore, the value of practicing blows on paws is higher, but it must be accurate and accurate. On the paws, you can practice two-minute rounds, or you can work out twenty-minute rounds until the blows become what they should be.”
Conor McGregor deadlift
The head coach Cavana is confident that sparring is the best way to prepare a fighter for the competition. “I’m not a fan of paw work, I prefer sparring,” he says.
Although the Cavana sparring program is aimed at high intensity, it is also aimed at developing strength. “We have two days of sparring a week – usually it’s Tuesday and Thursday, we work at speed in battle and train strength. They move fast, but they hit easily. I don’t want someone knocked out in the hall, we train wisely. We stick to a five minute round. We also do specific tasks: one fighter in boxing gloves tries to resist, while the other tries to overcome him. If I see that someone has problems with the equipment several times in a row, I will pay attention to this, I will clarify that this fighter has knowledge of how to deal with this error, and then can fix it in practice. In wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, we also stick to the five-minute round.”