Just as I was falling asleep tonight, my phone went off at the edge of my bed and lit up my tiny ass room. I grabbed my glasses off my windowsill, reached for my phone, and saw an Instagram notification that read, “@thenotoriousmma just posted a photo“.
That’s always an interesting one to receive if you’re me, because they usually come at all random hours of the night, and they could be for a photo of Conor wearing a cowboy hat doing hand-guns…
…allowing me to chuckle, and go back to sleep with a smile on my face.
OR – they could be for round-by-round analysis of McGregor’s UFC 229 Lightweight Championship fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov, and his future plans in the UFC, which means I will be up ALL night analyzing his analyzation and blogging it here and then maybe blogging something about this blog after I’m done with the blog because I’ll have missed something in this blog and need another, and…can you tell I’m half asleep? I’m half asleep. Alright. Let’s take a look at Conor McGregor’s latest Instagram post, and break his breakdown down section-by-section.
Thoughts on my last fight.
Round 1. I believe from a sport standpoint, round 1 was his. Top position against the fence. Zero position advancement or damage inflicted. But top position. From a fight standpoint the first round is mine. Actual shots landed and a willingness to engage. Straight left early. Knee to the head on the low shot. Elbows in any and all tie up scenarios. Opponent just holding the legs against the fence for almost the entire round.
Right off the bat, I’ll say this – the fake news MMA media, and MMA hardos/McGregor haters are going to lose their shit over this look-back at Round 1 and call Conor an excuse maker. They’ll say he cheated and grabbed Khabib’s shorts, say Khabib mauled him the whole round, blah, blah, blah, whatever they wanna say.
Show any non-MMA fan Round 1 of Khabib/McGregor, though, and I think they’d say exactly what McGregor said here. It’s tough if you’re an MMA fan to see that, because even me, I’m thinking, “Jeez, Conor, you did kinda get dominated in the first.”, but I went back home to Jersey to spend some time with family this weekend, and it was the first time I’d seen them since the fight, and a bunch of them remarked things like “That guy just held Conor down in the beginning, he wasn’t even fighting him!”.
Now, were my family members just trying to make me feel better about my guy’s loss? Yeah! But I’m using it to spinzone and validate a bit of a reaching point here because it sort of works. So suck it up, and deal with it. Signed, the Executive Director of Support, Team McGregor.
Alright onto Round 2.
Round 2 he is running away around the cage before being blessed with a right hand that changed the course of the round, and the fight. It was a nice shot. After the shot I bounced back up to engage instantly, but again he dipped under to disengage. That is the sport and it was a smart move that led to a dominant round, so no issue. Well played. If I stay switched on and give his stand up even a little more respect, that right hand never gets close and we are talking completely different now.
I gave his upright fighting no respect in preparation. No specific stand up spars whatsoever. Attacking grapplers/wrestlers only. That won’t happen again. I also gave my attacking grappling no respect. To defense minded. Lessons.
Alright, no excuses here. Well – wait…no, I guess accusing Khabib of running away from him wasn’t an excuse. He was just pointing that out. But anyway, McGregor speaks on being dropped for the first time in his career in this section, and it’s actually the most interesting part about the whole post. He says he gave Khabib’s standup absolutely zero respect, gave his own OFFENSIVE grappling no respect (he only focused on defending, not attacking), and states, “That won’t happen again.”
If that don’t make it move I don’t know what does.
Listen to nobody but yourself on your skill set. You are the master of your own universe. I am the master of this. I must take my own advice.
He then states that he must take his own advice on listening to his own skillset, and for the first time in this post, I thought, “That sounds like an upcoming, hungry McGregor talking.”
It’s just the kind of thing he’d say, always trying to remain focused with that crazy competitive, determined mindset of his, trying to remind himself of his own mantras at every turn. This “McGregor of old” theory becomes a trend throughout this post, as well, so look out for more mentions of it.
Round 3. After the worst round of my fighting career, I come back and win this round. Again walking forward, walking him down, and willing to engage.
Here, I felt McGregor said so much by saying so little. He admits Round 2 to be the worst of his fighting career, ranking it below Round 2 vs Nate Diaz at UFC 196, Round 4 of this very fight, the rounds in which he took his two other professional mixed martial arts losses, and even Round 3 against Nate Diaz at UFC 202. I guess being “smeshed” and sort of “humiliated” (the public’s words, not mine), or mauled, in Round 2 was that painful for the fighter to come to grips with. Not surprising if you know his personality even a little bit and how much this fight meant to him.
He then just briefly mentions he won Round 3. It doesn’t seem like he cares about this at all, though. He’s not celebrating it. Instead, simply mentioning it in passing to advance the narrative of this post.
Round 4. My recovery was not where it could have been here. That is my fault. Although winning the early exchanges in 4, he dips under again and I end up in a bad position with over 3 on the clock. I work to regain position and end up upright, with my back to the fence. A stable position. Here however, I made a critical error of abandoning my over hook at this crucial time, exposing the back, and I end up beaten fair and square. What can I say? It was a great fight and it was my pleasure.
In breaking down Round 4, McGregor does what I’m sure is very hard to do, and admit defeat – literally. Not like the Champ Champ has ever had trouble accepting defeat in the past, don’t get me wrong, he handles it like few champions in combat sports history have, but I mean he literally had to type out the exchange in which he was tapped in. And more heartbreaking of all, he knows the critical error he made of abandoning his overhook. I didn’t even realize this could’ve prevented Nurmagomedov gaining McGregor’s back until a few days later, but it didn’t take long for clips to wind up on r/MMA exposing this, and I just can’t imagine how rough it must be to look back on in hindsight. Kudos to McGregor for being man enough to treat the contest like he did in that breakdown, which I felt was very fair.
Onto his next move…
I will be back with my confidence high. Fully prepared. If it is not the rematch right away, no problem. I will face the next in line. It’s all me always, anyway. See you soon my fighting fans I love you all
Oh my. Pray for the UFC Lightweight Division, ladies and gentlemen, because it seems what everyone had feared has come true: the McGregor of old is back. He wants a fight. Now. He wants to return to the octagon quickly, with a drive that overrides his desire for an immediate rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov. Something I definitely didn’t believe he’d change his mind on. I thought it was Khabib or bust for him in the octagon, with a chance of a Mayweather rematch in the case of a bust.
Now the possibilities have opened up and are endless, however. Taking Khabib out of the equation with a suspension (the Nevada State Athletic Commission is slated to speak on the UFC 229 post-fight brawl on Wednesday, we may receive some sort of word on how long Khabib could be lookin’ at), you’ve got the following options…
Tony Ferguson – Ferguson is unquestionably next in line for the UFC Lightweight Championship, a championship that he won and was stripped of this year, and is easily the toughest fight in the division for McGregor outside of Nurmagomedov himself. I don’t see this being the next matchup for Conor, just because Ferguson REALLY deserves a title shot, like as much as anyone in the history of the UFC has deserved a title shot, and Dana White seems to be alright with trying to make this fight happen for the fourth or fifth year in a row, so I think he’s locked up with that.
Nate Diaz – Diaz just got into incredible shape prepared to fight Dustin Poirier at Madison Square Garden on November 3rd, but unfortunately that bout was cancelled due to Poirier suffering a hip injury during fight camp. McGregor has said as recently as this month that the door will ALWAYS be open to closing out the trilogy with Nate, as he feels Nate gave him the opportunity for a rematch after a victory, so he is obligated to do the same. I think this is very possible.
Anthony Pettis – At UFC 229, we saw Nurmagomedov vs McGregor, and Ferguson vs Pettis. If Nurmagomedov vs Ferguson is next, why not match up McGregor and Pettis as well? I think this fight would be great, and honestly, right now, I believe it’s the fight I’m drawn to the most as a fan. I think McGregor has a level of respect for Pettis that would bring a side out of him that we haven’t really seen since he was a coach on The Ultimate Fighter with Urijah Faber. It wouldn’t be a cutthroat war. There’d be no post-fight brawl, no death threats, no lawsuits, no going to jail, no unreasonable noise…it’d just be sport. And I’d love to see McGregor regain a drive to compete…in the sport. As ridiculous as that sounds.
I don’t think he ever lost that drive per-say, but it was unquestionably and understandably thrown on the back-burner in the build to UFC 229 because emotions and tensions were higher than ever. Did he fight with emotion? I could say no, but McGregor admits in this very post that he gave Khabib’s standup zero respect whatsoever and barely sparred against strikers. That, to me, reads like he let his personal opinion and negative feelings towards Khabib Nurmagomedov affect his performance in the cage. Now, I could be reading that wrong, it could be lost in translation or I could be just too tired to make sense right now, but that’s how I read it, and I’d love to see him fight someone we don’t have to literally get into death-threat-offs with. I don’t know how many more of those my mom’s heart can take.
Jose Aldo – Aldo’s wanted this rematch since the second I woke up to McGregor on top of him, mauling him, and now that he’s fighting at 155 and coming off a very impressive win…I think it actually makes a ton of sense, from a sport and promotional aspect. I would love to see this fight.
Georges St-Pierre – This superfight is always open, to be honest, and with McGregor now having a desire to get an octagon in the middle of a sold-out AT&T Stadium, I could see it being discussed. I know Georges wants Khabib, but Dana claims he’ll have to fight a lightweight contender first, so maybe they throw a big enough check in front of the two of these guys and magic happens. You truly never know nowadays.
Now that’s pretty much it for realistic options, I think. I suppose McGregor could also fight Dustin Poirier, though unlikely as he’ll be returning from injury, or he could hypothetically meet the winner of the upcoming Kevin Lee/Al Iaquinta rematch, but they’re probably not dipping those few spots on the rankings unless the winner of that fight puts on a highlight reel performance and has the promo of the year calling out McGregor afterwards. So uh – Al, or Kevin, if you’re reading this – do that. That’s how to get the Red Panty Night. Maybe even a bottle of Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey, if you’re lucky. And I didn’t even consider any non-lightweight, because while before UFC 229 it seemed McGregor was very interested in spearheading a 165lb division, I think right now he’s focused on climbing back up the 155lb ladder.
And finally, I just wanted to say…reading the sentence, “If it is not the rematch right away, no problem. I will face the next in line”, truly sent chills down my spine, because that is a focused, hungry, and rationally speaking man who’s head coach is just as fixated with Rocky’s isolated training methods from Rocky III as he is. Conor will be going off into the shadows for a bit, he is going to go back to the drawing board, resharpen his tools, and he will be back. And better than fookin’ ever.