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Conor McGregor’s self-analysis of Khabib Nurmagomedov fight.


Conor McGregor came out and I found this to
be pretty interesting. Conor McGregor comes out and he gives a breakdown
of his fight, and he did this on some kind of social media but he went round by round,
and I thought it was interesting. You know, anytime you have a big fight, you
never know if you have a big fight until after the fact. You guys won’t remember but we thought that
coming into 2018 the biggest fight that we were going to see and what will go down as
one of the biggest fights in history was Stipe versus Cormier, and no part of me telling
you that that wasn’t a big fight is my attempt to throw stones. I was with you guys. I thought that was going to be the biggest
fight. For my height of anticipation as a fan, no,
that wasn’t #1, but boy, it was up there. It was up there. We got short-term memories as fans but I’m
telling you, I remember looking forward to that from the day they announced it, and why
that fight fizzled out— And the point I’m trying to make to you is
a big fight you only know after the fact, okay? It doesn’t mean it’s a big competitive fight. It doesn’t mean it’s a highly anticipated
fight. A big fight is reserved for one definition:
How many people watched it. That’s it, whether it was a big fight or not. It could be Spinks versus Tyson in 1989, the
end of the 93 seconds. That was the biggest boxing fight of all time. So it doesn’t come down to competitiveness
in nature at all. It just purely comes down to how many people
watch. The reason I bring up Stipe and Cormier is,
for reasons unknown and unexpectedly, nobody wanted to watch that fight. Shockingly. I could begin to guess what those reasons
were, but I personally just wasn’t part of that. I was excited for it. I went there live. I don’t regret any of it. I thought it was a meaningful fight. I think it will be a more meaningful fight
as history goes on. However, the second that fight was done, nobody’s
talking about it. That is just merely a sign and adds to the
point that I am trying to illustrate for you guys that a big fight is only something that
could be recognized and categorized after the fact. So when you look at Conor and Khabib and you
look at the fact that this fight was a meaningful amount of time ago, three weeks ago, a month
ago, we’re still talking about it. Conor McGregor is coming out and putting out
his own interpretation of round one, two, three, and four. So the point that I’m making for you is the
fact that Conor and Khabib was a meaningful amount of time ago. I mean, in MMA that was light years ago. I just got out of the ring. I got out of the ring forever ago, okay? I mean, that’s just the way that it happens. But when you look at Conor and Khabib and
the fact that Conor can put out his interpretation of rounds one through four, which was the
extent of the contest, and this can still be headline news, that isn’t some compliment
to Conor, it’s not even a compliment to Khabib, it’s a compliment to them both of Conor and
Khabib as they went out and they did fantastic business together, but it gets a little bit
more interesting. So first off, when Conor gave his insight
into this and he break it down round by round—and I’m going to give you this in conjunction. I’m going to blur a couple of stories. But Conor’s coach, Coach John Kavanagh,
went on Joe Rogan’s podcast two days after the fight, so I’m combining a little bit of
what Kavanagh had said to Rogan but also what Conor had put into print. I’m doing that because that’s how my mind
is working on this. I saw the interview, I read the interview,
but it’s a combination and, of course, when you’ve got the student and coach here, I think
that it’s fair that we express their opinions together. But I will fully admit, and I’m blurring these
lines just a touch, but between the two of them, Kavanagh had come out on Joe Rogan’s
show and said essentially that they trained to lose, and he broke that down and I appreciate
that he had said that, and those weren’t his words but I appreciate that he eventually
came to that conclusion because since I heard it I couldn’t believe what he was saying. And what he said was, “We believed if Khabib
took us down—we believed in the grappling department—our job was to stay on our feet,
but we conceded that we probably weren’t going to get up. If we failed at keeping the fight standing,
we were probably going to be stuck underneath Khabib based on the evidence that we’ve seen
of both Conor’s skill set and Khabib’s ability to stay on top. So, if Conor is to get taken down, go to guard,
pull nice and tight, don’t let Khabib get separation, and eat up the round and concede
that entire round.” You guys see why that is a very dangerous
mindset and I can tell you as fighters there are parts of that that we all do. There are parts of it where you go, “Okay,
if I get taken down I’m simply not going to get an arm bar on this guy, so throw arm bar
out. Don’t waste any time in practice on the
arm bar. Don’t waste any time in the fight on the
arm bar. Yeah, triangle choke isn’t going to be the—you
know what? I’m not going to get leglocked.” There are things about this where you don’t
want to waste time and energy in the preparation into it but then also within the strategies
of the match. What surprised me is when Coach Kavanagh,
who’s fantastic at game plans and I don’t mean to second-guess him—he has just said
this and it surprised me—when he said, “We just conceded the entire position and were
ready to throw rounds away,” because as I’m looking at that I’m going to, “Wait
a minute, Khabib’s five take rounds away from winning this fight then. If all he has to do is get you there and you’re
going to stay there, unless you got put there in the last 30 seconds of a fight you are
going to lose the entire round.” So I thought that was very interesting. When Conor weighed in on it, he kind of said
the same thing and it was open to interpretation if Conor was throwing a coach under the bus
or not. I don’t know that I thought that he went that
far as much as, “Look, these guys handle strategy and here’s what the strategy was,
and then I handle the actual competition itself and here’s my end of it.” So I saw some talk online as well – I guess
why I wanted to clarify that. I don’t know that I agree that Conor threw
any coaches under the bus. I think it was more of a team effort of, “Well,
here’s what part of the team was doing and here’s what the other part of the team, myself,
was doing.” I thought he was okay on that. I thought he was just being candid. But one thing when a fighter comes out and
speaks very candidly, I don’t see them get a whole lot of credit for it and I think that
is very refreshing, particularly when you have a performer, particularly when you have
a character like Conor. I don’t think you get a whole lot of those
real moments. And why he would choose to go to that platform
I have no idea, but I don’t think it matters. I don’t know why we couldn’t just sit back
and enjoy it, and as I read it he was being very introspective. He was being very objective. I took it as a very candid moment. I don’t think there was any PR stunt to this. I don’t think he had anybody edit it. I think he was up late one night, having some
thoughts—I’ve been there a million times myself—and he decided to start typing them
out. I thought it was a really interesting piece. If you guys haven’t seen it, I would encourage
you to go see it. But some other stuff that’s come up, and the
fact that we can even be talking about this fight, the fact that we’re even talking about
this fight three and four weeks after the fact, just speaks to the magnitude and there’s
really nothing there to credit or copy or, if you’re a young fighter, to go back and
steal so that you can have one of those fights. It’s not really a situation like that. It’s more of something that just happens organically
after the fact and there seems to be continual talking points. But, one of the tremendous signs, and I never
like being worked. I don’t like being the worker. Or, I like being the worker, I like everybody
else to be the mark. But one way you know when you are getting
worked or one thing that has to send your feathers up is if the guy has a cashout at
the end of it, if a guy begins to lure you into something where he’s then going to go
and hit the cash register. Conor did just the opposite where as he also
said in conjunction with this piece where broke down round by round within the last
number of days, he’s come out and said, “No, I don’t have to fight Khabib next. It could be somebody else. It could be Tony. It could be an up-and-comer. Khabib and I can do it down the road.” No, I didn’t know where he was going with
that, which leads me to the conclusion he wasn’t going anywhere with it. He was just being an honest guy saying, “Maybe
I got knocked off my perch and maybe a title fight isn’t my next fight. I got a whole bunch of money and a whole bunch
of fame and a whole bunch of run, but if I got to go be a contender like everybody else
to get my feet wet and get back in there and get the opportunity that I want, then I’m
willing to take it,” And I thought it was one of the cooler things that he said and
I just want to make sure that he gets credit for it, but this was my interpretation of
it. There was no way to cash in on breaking down
or throwing a coach under the bus, which I think is a misinterpretation, a misrepresentation,
but it still creates a little bit of dialogue over pizza with the boys. When he’s doing that but then he doesn’t
have his finger on the scale and he openly says, “Yeah, it can be another competitor,”
I thought it was a very great moment. I thought it was a very organic week. I thought that it was appropriate. I think it also helps to diffuse the power
that Khabib has, and don’t forget in this situation that’s the one thing that Conor
lost. He lost control of the power. And even though he was the biggest star and
even though he was the highest-paid and even though he would have the most influence because
of those two aforementioned things, when you have an opponent who does not care about the
money and he’s in prizefighting, and that’s what you have with Khabib, all of a sudden
logic goes out the window. What you could logically do and we would logically
expect other fighters to respond to, which is the money and the payday and the rematch. When you have a guy like Khabib that says,
“I don’t care about any of them. You can keep the money. In fact, I might just leave the sport right
now,” when the guy says it but you happen to believe him, he now just took the power. In any situation, whoever can care less—and
I’m not saying to be careless, I’m saying to care less—then the other guy has the
power. Conor’s never been in that spot before. So what is Conor supposed to do when he says,
“I want a rematch,” and for the last five years anybody’s name that comes out of his
mouth ends up on the other side of that contract, ends up standing across the ring from him,
ends up having a great moment and a great experience and a high-profile fight and a
big payday, and we are in a business here? What do you do when that guys says, “I don’t
care,” and you believe him? To say, “I don’t care,” is one thing. When the guy says, “I don’t care,” and
you believe him, what do you do? The answer is you do what Conor did and you
say, “Then I’ll fight someone else. If you don’t care, I really don’t care, and
while you’re sitting in front of a commission I’m going to be building up a pay-per-view.” That was exactly the way you handle that. That was the only way to handle that and that
does not take back the driver’s side of the car from Khabib, but it helped to level
it a little bit. And if Khabib is not going to play ball—and
I haven’t got the foggiest idea, guys, if he is or not, I’m just speaking to how you
handle this piece of psychology—if Khabib was not going to play ball and you’re Conor
McGregor, you take your ball to another field and you see whose lights are going to shine
brighter, the field I’m over at or the field in the corner that you’ve put yourself in. You don’t know that answer until you get there. But when you’re confronted with a situation
where a guy doesn’t want to do business the way that business has been traditionally
done, you have to try something different and that’s what Conor did. And even if Conor wants to go into the rematch
with Khabib, even if he wants to go into a boxing match with somebody else, even if he
wants to sit on his ass and do Ireland in Ireland, when a guy is coming in and he’s
starting to take control of that car that is your car, you’ve got to get his name out
of the headlines. When two people are in a headline, one person
is getting the shine. That’s it. There’s never been a tag team that was equal. There’s never been an NBA team that was equal. There’s never been a football team. One guy gets the endorsements. One guy goes on the cover of the Wheaties
box. Not all of the Patriots go on the Wheaties
but one guy. One guy gets the MVP. So if you were the guy in the spotlight, which
Conor McGregor is, and somebody else is starting to dim that light because he’s not logically
playing ball, the very least thing that you would give him is a bump. You will get him out of the headline by getting
his name away from yours. I don’t know that Conor McGregor has the forethought
to do that as well-thought-out as I just said it for you but I will tell you, even if it
was unintentionally, that’s what happened here. And if you want to see a big fight with Khabib,
if it’s not Conor next to it, there are other options. You bet there are. Tony Ferguson can go into that mix any which
way he wants, but it’s not the same thing. You could take Khabib and a dance partner
of his choice, put him any night, any numbers, any box office, any way you want to do it,
against Conor McGregor and an opponent of his choice, and you’re going to find out who
the A-side is.

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