5 Strategies to fight like Conor McGregor

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Conor Mcgregor, love him or hate him, has undoubtedly proved his incredible MMA fighting ability. He did what he said he would, and more. The man stopped Jose Aldo, one of the greatest featherweights of all time, in 13 seconds using a swift left hook. So wanting to strike like Conor Mcgregor is definitely not a bad thing.

In the following article, we will go over some of the techniques that Conor employs, why they’re so effective, and how to do them yourself. Nearing the end of the article we will also go over what has most definitely been a key contributor to his success, and stardom; we’ll cover his mindset and how to cultivate something similar.

1. The Stance

Conor Mcgregor most commonly fights in a southpaw stance with a Karate style. What does this allow him to do? He is able to move quickly, pop in and pop out all the while maintaining hyper accuracy and power. It also allows for the quick use of kicks like the teep, or the side-kick.

The downsides of the stance are you are much more susceptible to leg-kicks. Leg kicks are not a matter of pain either, you can’t always just “push through”. When a leg has been sufficiently attacked, you begin to lose mobility in it, getting sort of shocked. Eddie Alvarez, although he was outclassed and lost, did successfully utilize leg kicks against Conor in their fight. Be aware and prepared or pay the price.

He also drops his hand’s a lot or uses the open-hand and distant guard. This allows him to strike from places the opponent doesn’t see coming… literally.

The other fighter who commonly uses a similar stance is “Wonderboy” Stephen Thompson.

How:

  1. Get into a southpaw stance.
  2. Bring your left foot back further, about one foot’s distance.
  3. Rotate both feet inwards, feel the bounce and mobility you have in your legs.
  4. Have an open guard, dropping your hands is not a great idea until you are very proficient and experienced with the stance/style of fighting.
  5. You are now in Conor-style Karate stance.

Tips:

  1. Learn the in and out movements, Conor is never flat-footed.
  2. Become extremely proficient in slipping punches.

Understand the side stance

2. The Straight Left hand

This is by far Conor’s greatest weapons. He holds frightening accuracy and unmatched power with this punch. The only person to have withstood it consistently was Nate Diaz, who has only been knocked out once in his entire career due to a vicious head kick from Josh Thomson. Everybody else that has come across Conor’s left hand has had serious trouble with it, either being knocked out or losing a lopsided decision.

This is a case for the basics. There’s nothing complicated and pretty about the punch, it’s a perfectly executed left straight… that’s all it is. What is amazing about it? The accuracy. The power. And everything that sets it up. Conor fights each one of his fights differently, different setups, different gameplans; although they all lead to the same outcome, a finish. In the Chad Mendes fight, Conor utilized kicks in order to set up his left hand, which in turn left Mendes sprawled out on the canvas.

Punching like Conor is a great skill, so if you can learn how to you will most definitely be on the path of a phenomenal striker.

How:

  1. Know your setups for a straight left hand and be very comfortable in a southpaw stance.
  2. Get into your southpaw karate style stance.
  3. First practice rotating your shoulders and hips forward. At the same time rotate on the ball of your rear left foot, bringing your knee/leg in line with the other.
  4. Snap your straight left out while doing the previous step in conjunction.
  5. Be sure you are hitting with your two biggest inner knuckles. Do not flare out your elbow, you should be hitting with full extension.

Tips:

  1. Practice on a bag, engrain it into you.
  2. Ask for another eye, sometimes it is hard to see your own mistakes.

Conor McGregor Left Hand Explained

3. The Kicks

One of Conor’s great traits is he isn’t one-track-minded. He’s always looking for an opening while still sticking to his gameplan. The difference between him and many mid-level fighters is he constantly switches up his gameplan to successfully accomplish the task at hand. 

For example, in the Chad Mendes photo pictured above Conor had to switch it up, he couldn’t just march forward on Chad. Conor wore his body down using kicks, tiring Chad out, then finishing the fight with a left once he was vulnerable.

Conor uses many kicks, usually all stemming from the rear left leg. In the Chad Mendes fight, he used a multitude of teeps and roundhouse kicks to the body as a means of gassing out Chad. In the second Nate Diaz fight, Conor utilized leg kicks in order to stifle Nate; this was a great help in him winning the decision since it slowed Nate down over the course of the fight.

How:

  1. Be comfortable in a southpaw Karate style stance. Learn to move in and out efficiently.
  2. Learn the spear teep; the spear teep is quite simple, although make certain you do not push with it. It is not a push kick
  3. Start in your southpaw stance, in one fluid movement raise your knee up and then strike into the bag. Don’t point your toes. Make sure you are striking with the ball of your foot and don’t fall forward after the kick, you should be in control the entire time.
  4. Your hips and upper body will go back slightly. You should have near full extension at the end of the kick. Keep your hands up throughout.
  5. Learn the left roundhouse. Imagine your leg is like a baseball bat, swinging all the way through instead of stopping at the target.
  6. Start in your southpaw stance, in a fluid movement bring your leg up and rotate to the right on the ball of your foot, follow through with your shin. Strike the bag with your shin, not your foot or knee. Keep your hands up throughout.

Tips:

  1. Make sure you have an experienced coach teaching you the kicks, the writing is only a supplement.
  2. Don’t rotate on your heel when performing the roundhouse, make sure you’re pivoting on the ball of your foot only.

4. The Mindset

Mindset is the main part of being a successful fighter, or successful in life at all. Conor Mcgregor has definitely mastered the fighting mindset. If you want to be anywhere near his ability, you must have confidence in your skills. This is true with all high-level fighters and champions. 

Muhammad Ali, GSP, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Mike Tyson, and numerous other fighters of stature all have one thing in common… they are completely confident in their ability.

If you want to make it to the highest level, this is a must. Technical skill and mental fortitude go hand in hand, you can’t have one without the other. If you go into an MMA bout with the thought of you losing, chances are you will.

Below I will cover the best ways to create a mindset like Conor Mcgregor.

  1. Don’t limit yourself.
    Don’t allow people to say whether or not you are capable of something. Every single one of the greats in any field had been seriously doubted by people. Don’t allow their doubt to seep into your thoughts. A great way to prevent this is to simply distance yourself from these people.
  2. Set goals.
    Make sure you have a clear vision of where you want to go. As Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “You may have the best ship in the world, but if the captain doesn’t know where he’s going you’re just going to float around.”. Write your goals down, and make sure to push towards them daily.
  3. Walk the talk.
    Yes, confidence is a huge player in being a successful fighter, but you must also have tremendous knowledge of the skills. And how do you do that? By putting in the hours. A great way to make sure you’re putting in the work is to keep a training schedule, they can be found online or made yourself. Checking off the days you have succeeded is a great feeling that you will become addicted to.

Imitating someone you look up to is a great way to get the ball rolling, to get pointed in the right direction; although the only way to be truly great is to set yourself apart from anyone and everyone else. Conor stands out because there is no one else like him, although he had heroes like Ali and others, at the end of the day he made his own path.

The most important step is the first one, if you are just getting into mixed martial arts I highly suggest you go sign up for classes as soon as possible, you most definitely will not regret it!