Although Conor McGregor spent a good portion of 2017 working on his boxing, in advance of his August 20th fight with Floyd Mayweather, his coach says the star’s jiu-jitsu skills haven’t slipped much.
Well before McGregor’s bout with Mayweather was finalized, it was reported the UFC lightweight champ was spending more time, training his hands. Then, once the fight was signed, obviously McGregor’s training was focused on boxing, and getting prepared for his battle with the undefeated pugilist.
Of course, the striking of McGregor has always been the fighter’s calling card in MMA, which is why his head coach, John Kavanagh, recently told The Daily Star this:
“When would an MMA guy have a chance to take six months just to focus on one aspect of MMA? Never is the answer, they’re always trying to work on everything.
“But when he does return to the Octagon, his hands are going to be a lot better than what they were. And I’m excited to see that.”
Fair enough. But, what about McGregor’s ground game? Which has been scrutinized in the past, particularly after his bout with Chad Mendes and his first scrap with Nate Diaz?
While discussing where McGregor’s jiu-jitsu skills are at, after focusing on boxing for multiple months, Kavanagh stated:
“You know, I was rolling with him two weeks ago and I was wondering how his jiujitsu would be. And I was very annoyed that he took my back and choked me,” Kavanagh said. “So he hasn’t lost too much there.
“Of course, he has to tighten up there before he goes to fight in the Octagon again. But he really does love grappling.”
If McGregor ends up fighting Tony Ferguson, and if the bout hits the mats, the champ’s submission defense will almost certainly be tested. In fact, on account of Ferguson’s nasty chokes, McGregor’s grappling pedigree will likely be audited if the two clinch up at all.
Ferguson aside, it will be interesting to see how McGregor looks in the Octagon period, when he returns to the UFC. It’s been over a year now since McGregor’s last MMA bout, when he stopped Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205, and became the promotion’s 155 champ.