Behind every great team and every great athlete is a great strength and conditioning coach where they can build a solid base for their athletes to perform. John Connor co-founder of the Irish Strength Institue is the man who is responsible for overseeing the strength and conditioning for SBG athletes Cathal Pendred, Paddy Holohan, Aisling Daly, Gunnar Nelson as well as the current UFC interim champion Conor McGregor. John has been working with team SBG since 2008 and says they have the perfect balance when it comes to getting there conditioning right.
‘When the guys first started working with us I think we went too far with the conditioning we were training 4-5 times a week on top of there MMA training and it was too much, so we changed it but ended up going too far back we were only doing maybe one session a week but we learned from it we now have the perfect balance. If you train to much with the strength & conditioning side of it you lose some of your technical qualites, yes you look great and are in great shape but against a very technical fighter you don’t stand a chance but I now believe we have it perfectly balanced’.
John who has worked with world renowned trainer Charles Poliquin says that other teams outside SBG are doing too much strength and conditioning which is causing them injuries. John also says long strenuous camps before a fight are also another reason for injuries.
‘ I believe a lot of other teams do way too much strength & conditioning which is causing a lot of injuries you need to train smart. All of our guys at SBG are in shape all year round and do 1-2 sessions a day but some of these sessions can be very light so in the lead up to a fight it’s just all about the fine tuning the small details. If they need a day or two off with a small injury it’s no problem because all the hard graft is done. In other cases in other teams they will do very little and then try to fit an enormous amount of training into a 8-12 week training camp which can be too much on the body, also if these guys pick up a small injury they don’t have the luxury of taking a day or two off for recovery because they have so much to do’.
With the UFC clamping down on the use of IV bans to help fighters rehydrate after weighing in John says that it won’t really effect any of the fighters at SBG as they make weight quite easily.
‘I think they will cause problems for fighters who need to cut a lot of weight which will probably result in them going up a division. Our guys are quite smart when it comes to weight cutting. Conor for example cuts weight a lot easier now than he did when he was in cage warriors he’s really dialled into his nutrition and supplements. Cathal’s last fight he only had to cut 1.5 – 2 kg of weight. For the water loading stage Paddy likes to use tea instead of water. With weight-cutting our bodies need periods of famine and our bodies get used to it also with weight cutting you learn for example my body needs to be at a certain weight by this time’.
John who also helps train world champion boxer Carl Frampton but how does the training between a boxer and a mixed martial artist differ?
‘Well with a boxer they would focus a lot more on strength & conditioning as they have less technical things to work on. Carl for example has been boxing since he was seven don’t get me wrong they still obviously do a lot of boxing but they work a lot on conditioning and just tweaking small things. The guys at SBG on the other hand need to do less S&C as they have a lot of things to work on technically ie boxing, wrestling, BJJ etc. But in terms of S&C training they are quite similar’
With Conor and Carl both world champions in their respective sports how does one improve athletes who are now already on top? John says they are always looking to improve.
‘We are always looking for ways to improve. If you have made it the top and think your the finished article you just get complacent. For example look at Conor’s early fights even when he fought first in the UFC against Marcus Brimage and see the difference in his back, glutes and hamstrings then and now there is a massive difference is size and definition. Even Conor’s leg kicks now are way superior to his previous fights. Same with Carl he’s always looking at small things to improve these small things can win you fights. What people don’t understand is how obsessed these guys are with what they do they are always looking to improve’
McGregor defeated Chad Mendes at UFC 189 to win the UFC featherweight interim title, many people have argued the fight could have gone differently if Mendes had a full training camp but John disagrees.
‘I don’t believe a full camp would have made any difference. Urijah Faber said Chad is in shape all year round and afterwards said he needs a full camp. Fitness is the fastest thing you lose but also the fastest thing you gain. The second the whole drug testing situation came out with Aldo Mendes should have started training. I personally think it was the body shots that killed Chad nobody realises how hard Conor hits until they are in there with him, he only needs a few seconds on his feet to KO you. Cathal who fights at welterweight trains and spars with guys heavier than him and still says nobody hits with the power Conor does’
McGregor will finally take on Aldo on December 12th at UFC 194 and John can’t see anything other than KO win for McGregor, John also predicts McGregor being a champion in the lightweight division.
‘I honestly can’t seeing it go past the second round. The way Conor moves and picks his shots and judges distance is unbelievable and his speed is key, speed is the hardest quality to train in a fighter. You may have a very fast fighter but doesn’t judge distance well or doesn’t have great accuracy, Conor has all of them. I also see Conor being lightweight champion he’s got the size he’s a lot bigger than a lot of those guys in that division and hits a lot harder.
To check John’s great facility check out www.ISIPersonaltraining.com For all your latest news in MMA be sure to follow MMA Latest News on Facebook and Twitter.
[Watch] First trailer for Conor McGregor: Notorious released
Many have wondered when we would get to see Conor McGregor have his own documentary film in cinemas. After months of waiting and teasing at it through social media we finally have the initial trailer. The trailer shows some fantastic little clips from throughout his career. From a first glance this is without a doubt one to be looking forward to, enjoy. Conor McGregor: Notorious will hit theatres November.
What must Conor McGregor do to be considered the undisputed G.O.A.T?
In November 2016, Conor McGregor cemented his legacy as an all time great by becoming the first simultaneous two weight world champion holding both the Featherweight and Lightweight belts. In that year McGregor also won three fights at three different weight classes.
“The Notorious One” has the fourth highest win percentage in the UFC at 90%, and he owns the fastest finish in a UFC title fight. This may upset a few MMA purists as McGregor only has 10 UFC fights to his name, but he is certainly in the G.O.A.T discussion now more than ever after his recent bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
There are three possible ways to define the greatest of all time.
- Whether or not the individual is a pioneer of the sport and earns plaudits for their innovation and creativity, e.g. Royce Gracie is a perfect example.
- Whether the fighter has done a lot to help develop and grow the sport e.g. Chuck Liddell isn’t always top of everyone’s list but he’s always in the conversation due to the way he brought the UFC to mainstream audiences.
- Judging a fighter on their skill set and MMA record, e.g. Jon Jones who has a perfect MMA record with some high calibre opponents on his list of victims.
Conor McGregor fits in to each category on this list and deserves to be in the G.O.A.T discussion, but he’s not quite the undisputed number one just yet. Here are some of the things McGregor needs to do to become the undisputed greatest of all time.
Defend His Belt
What do Demetrious Johnson, GSP, Anderson Silva and Jon Jones all have in common? They all have multiple title defences and they’re all in the G.O.A.T discussion because of it. Jon Jones has the least out of those named competitors with 8 consecutive title defences. Conor McGregor currently has 0 title defences despite being a UFC champion since December 2015.
In defence of McGregor every time it’s looked like he would be defending his belt a much bigger opportunity has arisen. When the time came to defend his Cage Warriors belts he was off to the UFC.
After winning his featherweight title at UFC 194, he was scheduled to make history by facing Rafael Dos Anjos for the lightweight belt at UFC 196, before facing Diaz. After losing on March 5th, McGregor then re-matched Diaz in the biggest fight in UFC history with the event playing host to the UFC buy rate record with roughly 1.6 million buys.
Then it was time to make history at UFC 205 where he became the first simultaneous two weight world champion. And when it finally looked like he would defend his belt he faced Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the biggest fight of all time for $100 million.
But now it’s finally time for McGregor to defend his belt. I’m not necessarily saying he has to match Jones’ 8 title defences, as I believe he will retire long before he even gets there. But maybe 3 or 4 title defences against competitors like Diaz, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson will prove he is championship material, and has what it takes to keep hold of the belt in a shark tank division stacked filled with trained killers.
It would be a move to silence the haters and stake his claim as the best to ever do it.
Become the First Fighter to Beat Khabib Nurmagomedov
McGregor is no stranger to doing something no other man has ever done before. So it would be no surprise to see him be the first fighter to beat Nurmagomedov.
Say what you like about Khabib, whether you think he’s an elite fighter or just your average Joe with a padded record (he’s not), but there’s one thing you have to say about him, he’s undefeated.
Fans on Twitter are constantly claiming Khabib is the man to dethrone McGregor. If that’s the case, then it would be equally impressive to see McGregor defend his crown against Khabib and hand him his first loss, adding another historic moment to his storied career. It is a win that would truly legitimise his G.O.A.T status.
Win the Third Fight Against Nate Diaz
McEnroe had Borg. Brady had Peyton Manning. Messi has Ronaldo. And Conor McGregor has Nate Diaz. Every great needs a great rival to make them better. Just look at Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones for example, those two men pushed and motivated each other to be better for years.
The problem with these great rivalries is that they have to be won to secure your legacy, nobody remembers the loser. Winning the trilogy fight against Nate would make Conor the clear winner in this rivalry and answer all questions asked from his doubters, it would see him earn a huge amount of respect and would catapult him to a legendary status.
However, the flip side to that is that if Nate won the third fight then Conor has even more questions asked of him, he may lose some of his star power and could also drop out of the G.O.A.T discussion.
Win the Welterweight Title
McGregor has already won the featherweight and lightweight belts, but he has claimed he’s coming for “all the belts” and I believe him.
If McGregor was the first man to become a three weight World Champion it would be hard to argue he is not the greatest mixed martial artist ever. Especially if he was to beat a top level fighter like Tyron Woodley, GSP or Robbie Lawler to become the welterweight champion. It is another impressive feat that would put him above the rest. It’s a big ask but that’s why it would make him the G.O.A.T.
Stay Clean and Know When it’s the Right Time to Retire
It sounds simple but one of the things that has hurt some of MMA’s biggest stars be considered the greatest has been their inability to stay clean and leaving the game before their inevitable decline.
Some notable stars like Chuck Liddell and B.J Penn’s cases of being the G.O.A.T have been damaged by the later stages of their careers, where they could not perform like they were capable of in their prime, leaving a sour taste in the mouths of many fans who may only remember the last few fights they had.
If McGregor quits whilst he’s ahead he won’t be fighting unnecessarily and tarnishing his legacy by competing when his chin has gone, and his athleticism has declined.
If McGregor can stay clean, which I have no doubt he will as he has always been an honest fighter, then he already has one up on those that have been caught taking steroids. Fighters like Jones and Silva’s legacies have not been ruined by testing positives but people will always view them differently because of it.
Conor has always made his intentions clear, “Get in. Get rich. Get Out” and a retirement in his early 30’s is more than likely, especially with a smart coaching team around him who want to see him happy and healthy. We will look back on his career fondly rather than thinking what could have been.
Let us know what you think Conor McGregor must do to be considered the G.O.A.T.
Seriously, How is Joanna Jedrzejczyk Not in the Top 5 P4P Rankings?!
Honest to God question here, how is Joanna Jedrzejczyk not in the top 5 of the UFC’s Pound for Pound rankings?
Jedrzejczyk is arguably the greatest female fighter of all time, yet she’s stuck behind three fighters who don’t even have a title defense on their record. Yes, these fighter rankings don’t hold much weight but put some respect on her name. Ranking Joanna at number seven is absolute blasphemy.
The amount of disrespect the UFC shows to their fighters is at an all-time high so we shouldn’t really be surprised here. It’s understandable that Joanna is behind the likes of Conor McGregor and Demetrious Johnson in the rankings — but after that, it can be argued that she deserves that number three spot on the list.
Let’s take a look at just a few of Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s accomplishments:
- Five successful title defenses (second most in UFC women’s division history)
- A perfect 14-0 record, 8-0 in the UFC
- Most leg kicks in a fight in UFC history
- Highest significant strikes thrown in a UFC championship bout
- Highest significant strikes differential in a UFC championship bout
Joanna has more title defenses than Conor McGregor, Stipe Miocic, Max Holloway, Daniel Cormier, and Cody Garbrandt — COMBINED. That alone should at least warrant her a top five spot on the list, yet all five of those fighters aforementioned are ranked ahead of her.
The common argument against Joanna is the “lack of competition” that she has faced, and while that is partially true, let’s not forget about the “competition” Demetrious Johnson has been up against — and he’s sitting comfortably at number one on the list. Also, we just saw how vicious both Jessica Andrade and Claudia Gadelha are at UFC Japan, and Joanna dominated both women and virtually neutralized their attacks. So that flawed “lack of competition” argument is irrelevant.
It’s about time that Joanna Jedrzejczyk starts getting the respect she deserves as a UFC champion. She is undoubtedly the best striker in the women’s division and may be the best striker overall on the UFC roster. Joanna has the second most title defenses currently of a UFC champion and if that doesn’t earn her a top three spot on the list I don’t know what will.
If top three is a little too rich for your blood, that’s understandable. But there is no way she should be outside of the top five and there is no arguing that. As Khabib would say, “This is number one bullsh*t!”
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