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Conor McGregor

TUF Season 22 – Episode 11 Re-Cap: An Angry Russian Ruins Christmas?

AJ Camacho

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Last week was the premiere of the quarterfinal round as Team Europe’s Artem Lobov crumbled America’s Chris Gruetzemacher for a brutal TKO win. Conversely, Europe’s Saul Rogers skillfully evaded the deadly submission butt scooting of Ryan Hall for a smartly won decision victory.

This episode wouldn’t feature any screwing around. No prom date, no small talk, and no foreplay. We don’t even know what the fighters ate for breakfast. Answer, protein shakes.

Immediately the internal team match becomes an issue. In the pre-fight build up, McGregor makes it clear that he will not be providing any fighting strategy to either competitor as they will fight on even footing.

Fight 1 Re-Cap
Marcin Wrzosek (McGregor) vs David Teymur (McGregor)

Round 1:
The initial round began with some feeling out and inside leg kicks. The inter-team tension was palpable as the room was silent. Nobody would offer any kind of hoot or holler to bolster the ego of either competitor. The soundtrack accompaniment was just the wet cracks of bone, meat, and tissue.

Both fighters first engaged at long range, feeling out and trying to figure out how to cover the distance. The tempo was exactly how you would expect sparring partners to fight. They know each other’s tendencies and are drilled and queued with the same muscle memory triggers. Often both fighters would drop levels at the same time, meet eye to eye, and then abandon any attempt for a takedown. It was like a mirror fighting boss battle in a video game.

Then like a cannonball smashing through a tepid grease puddle, Teymur was cracked with an overhand right that dropped him. He was barely able to recover and regain guard under a smattering of chops and punches from Marcin.

Marcin eased off to control and retain top position, but Teymur was able to scoot back to the fence using the barrier as a third man to help him climb back to his feet. Back up, Teymur hit the takedown landing in Marcin’s guard. Marcin’s wrist control from his guard made him some space and he worked back to his feet. Though Marcin edged David on takedowns while scoring a knockdown, it was still a fairly even round.

Round 2:
No feeling out in this round. David cracked Marcin with a solid round kick to the body. Marcin would throw a head kick as his reciprocating response, but his foot would get caught and they would exchange in a rock em sockem flurry of tight punches. Teymor changed levels and got the takedown.

Marcin was up again, but David sacrificed position diving under for a loose D’arce choke. Burying himself underneath Marcin, Teymor had to scramble back to half guard to hit a sweep and reverse to top position. Marcin made space, pushing away with his hands and transitioning to butterfly guard. Teymor’s hips were too heavy though, Marcin unable to heave his opponent over. They stalled out, the ref stood them back up despite the dominant position for Teymor.

A quick takedown and scramble, put Teymor on the bottom. They clambered to the fence, stiff armed to the face, putting Teymor back up on his feet. Six seconds left, Marcin caught a leg kick and hit the takedown scoring the last point in the round.

Marcin Wrzosek wins by Unanimous decision. Teymur’s willingness to pull guard and his failed D’arce choke seemed to cost him the fight.

In the build up for fight two, the matchup is framed as the experience of Lloveras versus the speed and unorthodox style of Erosa.

Fight 2 Re-Cap
Julian Erosa (Faber) vs Abner Lloveras (McGregor)

Round 1:
Abner put the pressure on Erosa immediately. Abner looked like he wanted to keep Erosa backpedalling so that he couldn’t plant and throw bombs. Erosa shimmied and shucked but he had to eat leg kicks or a jab to get into his striking range.

Abner was doing well keeping Erosa retreating and close to the fence, dominating the middle of the cage. Erosa was trying to step off of Abner’s center line to sidestep the incoming jab and open up a flanking angle for his own hooks. However, when Erosa would botch the timing, it would put him square in the danger zone of Abner’s power hand. Well aware of the danger, Erosa was actively trying to circle out after his strikes, occasionally getting caught on his exit.

Abner clinched and put Erosa in the fence straining and pulling on the long American’s legs for a takedown. Abner was able to pull Erosa away from the fence and complete a takedown nut only just before the round ended.

Round 2:
Hands and head down, Erosa still looking to slip Abner’s jab. McGregor was yelling at Abner to follow his jab with a straight right-hand to beat Erosa on his exit angle, but Abner can’t put the combination together. Instead, Abner would pick off single strikes until he would shoot for an ankle pick.

The takedown would fail and Erosa landed an uppercut splitting Abner’s face skin open. Erosa was keeping Abner on the retreat and dominating the middle of the ring. Abner backpedaled away while winging wild hooks as Erosa picked away with uppercuts anytime they would enter or exit clinch range. Abner connected with a right hook, but Erosa ate it and threw his own stiffer uppercut, buckling Abner. A bloody mess, Abner shelled up retreating Erosa’s shoveling uppercuts making space to recover.

Round 3:
Erosa playing keep away again in the third as Abner shot looking to take it to the ground. Abner was working his jab again (like the first round) but his footwork was still on the retreat waiting for takedown openings. He connected on one attempt but couldn’t get anything going against the fence.

Erosa started spamming several oblique kicks to Abner’s knee. Abner was clearly tired, his lead leg flaccidly locking out whenever he would step his foot down. Erosa noticed the bolts coming loose and would crack Abner in the knee practically every time Abner would step forward.

Abner frantically reshot for multiple takedowns but was unable to keep Erosa contained or down. Abner was still making contact on the outside with his jab and kicks but Erosa was controlling the brawl and anything within a jab range. In the last 10 seconds, Erosa frantically shot for a takedown but only landed a flush uppercut as he abandoned the attempt.

Julian Erosa wins by split decision. Abner put together a solid effort but was unable to retain his aggression and momentum from the first round. Erosa turned the bout into a brawl taking the win.

After the fight, Artem Lobov (the brutal Russian with knockout power) demanded that Dana White give him a fight against Erosa. With it being Erosa’s second decision win, Artem was frustrated with the American’s ability to edge out his teammates. He even went as far as to imply that the decision wins were gifted to Erosa saying, “Christmas is over, no more presents.” as if he was the Russian villain in a Rocky 3 re-make.

Now we move on to the semi-finals. We’re teased with next week’s footage featuring a calm Jose Aldo sitting cage side with a smirking Uriah Faber. The semi-final round breaks down as follows:

Saul Rogers (McGregor) vs Marcin Wrzosek (McGregor)

Julian Erosa (Faber) vs Artem Lobov (McGregor)

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Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor has ‘Every intention of fighting in 2018’

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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.

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Conor McGregor

Will Conor McGregor ever fight again?

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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.

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.

 

Conor McGregor UFC 205

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.

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Manny Pacquiao Hints at Possible 2018 Fight with Conor McGregor

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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.

Happy Thanksgiving! Stay fit my friend. #realboxingmatch #2018 @thenotoriousmma

A post shared by Manny Pacquiao (@mannypacquiao) on

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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