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.
Conor McGregor has ‘Every intention of fighting in 2018’
Despite being inactive since his historic boxing bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August, Conor McGregor is never far from the headlines. Recently his out of cage antics have got people questioning if he’ll ever be back.
Thankfully the UFC lightweight champion appears to have cleared up any rumors about his fighting career.
Speaking to his sponsor Betsafe, the “Notorious” Conor McGregor said “My focus is getting back into the right ring or octagon. 2017 was historic. I have transcended both the sport of MMA and boxing. At this stage of my career, as it has been for the majority of my UFC career, potential opponents must lobby for fights with me. We could see Conor McGregor anywhere. I run the fight game, the fashion game, the whiskey game or whatever the next business endeavor might be”.
McGregor added, “I have every intention of fighting in 2018 if my compensation and business development endeavors accurately reflect my influence on combat sports.”
This comes just two weeks after UFC President Dana White told reporters “Conor might never fight again. The guy’s got $100 (expletive) million. I’ve got guys that made less than that and were lawyers and went to school their whole life and quit working.”
White went on to say “Try to get up and get punched in the face every day when you’ve got $100 million in the bank. Money changes everything with a lot of people.”
White also told reporters that the “Notorious one”, “can’t be paid enough money” and that he is “worth every penny and more.” McGregor’s recent statement suggests he knows that and won’t be back till his demands are met.
The UFC lightweight division has been stalled in the absence of the champion McGregor and now the interim champion Tony Ferguson has undergone surgery. The UFC has been known the remove belts from fighters who have been delayed for extended amounts of time, this would be highly unlikely with the popularity of McGregor.
Will Conor McGregor ever fight again?
The future of the UFC’s biggest ever star is in doubt. But it was also never a secret. “The Notorious” Conor McGregor always made his intentions clear, “Get in. Get rich. Get out”. And now he’s rich, very rich.
Get in. Get rich. Get out.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) August 12, 2014
In 2008 at the age of 20 a baby-faced, clean-shaven McGregor stated his ambitions for his MMA career after just 5 professional fights. He said “My dream is to be world champion in the UFC, have more money than I know what to do with, and have a great life for my kids, my grandkids, everyone in my family, everyone that’s come up with me. That’s my dream”.
Along his journey, McGregor has never kept his intentions to himself. At first, it was to get into the UFC. Then it was the featherweight belt. Then it was to replicate what he had done in his previous promotion, to become the UFC’s first simultaneous two-weight world champion.
The issue now is that McGregor has achieved everything he has set out to do. From world titles to being a multi-millionaire, he’s done it all. And now there is no statement of intent. No dream to chase.
Since he’s achieved everything he said he ever wanted, where does the hunger for more come from? Currently, it doesn’t appear to be there.
Since the last time we saw McGregor with gloves on, the charismatic Irishman has seemingly gone off the rails. There was the Bellator 187 incident in Dublin, where McGregor stormed the cage and pushed veteran referee Marc Goddard and slapped an official. But more recently the Irish Daily Mail has reported that McGregor was involved in a bar fight in his native Crumlin, where he is believed to have punched an associate of a major crime gang in Dublin. Whether this is true or not, it is still something a UFC champion and role model shouldn’t be associated with.
From the outside, McGregor’s life is more about hours spent at the club rather than the gym.
But who can blame the man for enjoying the fruits of his labor? He is acting how most 29-year-old men would if they had just received $100 million.
This is his life’s work paying off.
After McGregor’s loss at UFC 196, he wanted an immediate rematch against Nate Diaz at the same weight. It showed us he’s a true martial artist with the heart of a lion. It showed his desperation to get that win back and prove he is the better competitor. And when he won, he proved all his doubters wrong as he walked on crutches through the corridor of the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas screaming “doubt me now”.
But after his loss to Mayweather Jr., there has seemingly been no desire to arrange a fight to get back in the win column.
It’s easy to forget during this period of inactivity that McGregor is one of the most active guys in MMA. From UFC 194 to UFC 205, McGregor competed in 4 fights at 3 different weight classes against high caliber opponents inside the space of 11 months. The truth is he deserves a well-earned rest.
However, in a recent media scrum, Dana White confirmed that Conor was looking to fight before the end of the year but had been pulled from UFC 219 as punishment for the incident at Bellator 187.
Dana also told the reporters in the room “Conor might never fight again. The guys got $100 million. I’ve got guys that made less than that and were lawyers and went to school their whole life and quit working”.
White also said, “Try and get up and get punched in the face every day when you’ve got $100 million in the bank”.
The two statements from Dana are very contradicting as he isn’t sure McGregor will ever fight again, but at the same time he wanted to fight on December 30th. Maybe Dana is struggling to pick apart the mind of Conor McGregor as much as we are.
There are plenty of reasons why Conor should never come back.
Not only is he set for life but he’s also healthy. McGregor is extremely conscious about his health and has mentioned several times throughout his career about the importance of keeping your brain healthy.
But there are plenty of reasons why he should he come back.
He loves to fight and he loves making money. He needs to capitalize on that whilst he can.
McGregor doesn’t have to settle for one big payday, he has matchups waiting for him such as Ferguson, Diaz, and GSP. There is always the welterweight belt and his Croke Park dream. And the door is open for a return to boxing, especially with fighters like De La Hoya, Pacquiao, and Malignaggi calling him out.
He’s also at the peak in terms of age and physique and in terms of power. Where he has the whole MMA world on strings with every small move he makes.
There is no knowing if McGregor will ever fight again. If McGregor returns to his usual self, he will likely be back in the first quarter of 2018, where he will fight frequently. But as time ticks on and there is no fight announcement McGregor may be stripped of his belt never to be seen again.
He got in. He got rich. Is he out? Let us know.
Manny Pacquiao Hints at Possible 2018 Fight with Conor McGregor
Here we go again. Just when we thought Conor McGregor was set on a return to the octagon, boxing legend Manny Pacquiao has seemingly called out the charismatic Irishman with his latest Instagram post.
It appears the current senator of the Philippines also wants a trip on the money train that is Conor McGregor, as he sent out this cryptic message on his Instagram.
The caption reads “Happy thanksgiving! Stay fit my friend. #realboxingmatch #2018 @thenotoriousmma”.
This comes a week after retired boxer Oscar De La Hoya claimed he has been secretly training for a bout with “The Notorious One.” Speaking on ‘Golden Boy Radio with Tattoo and the Crew’, De La Hoya claimed “I’m faster than ever and stronger than ever. I know I can take out Conor McGregor out in two rounds”.
After his most recent loss to Australian boxer Jeff Horn, retirement looked imminent for ‘Pac-Man’. But a shot at McGregor and the pay day his name brings, appears to be far too tempting.
McGregor loves to test himself and he loves money. So he will be licking his lips just thinking about the opportunity to get back in the ring against a high calibre opponent like Pacquiao. Not just to make money, but to prove his doubters wrong after his boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
McGregor’s immediate future looks set to be a fight with Tony Ferguson in 2018. But after that who knows what the future holds for the UFC lightweight champion.
If McGregor’s next fight is a boxing match with Pacquiao, then it could spell the end of his title reign. As Ferguson likes to say it’s ‘defend or vacate’ time.
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