The UFC just nabbed another exciting prospect that will mix beautifully into the lightweight and featherweight picture. Dublin’s Conor “Notorious” McGregor (12-2) has recently signed with the UFC and will debut against Marcus Brimage April 6 at UFC on Fuel TV 9.
For some time now, the Irish striker has been highly touted, and with good reason. With 11 knockouts racked up amidst his current eight fight win streak, elite athleticism and a deadly set of his stand up skills, McGregor is a dangerous figure now in the 145 pound UFC weight class.
Before he makes his long awaited UFC debut, I will look at McGregor’s game, and properly introduce him to MMA fans yet to watch him dance.
A lot of today’s best mixed martial artists that specialize in striking often supplement their technical skills with athleticism. These quick moving, agile and powerful strikers are able to overwhelm opponents with a flustering and unpredictable concoction of kicks, knees and punches, that sway the fight in their direction early. Edson Barboza does a great job of establishing his power on the feet early in bouts. His speed instantly opens up his game for the rest of the fight, and gives him a head start. Similarly, Anthony Pettis throws odd angled strikes that derive from a tempo that slices through his opponent’s rhythm.
Mcgregor’s offense is very similar to both of these examples. He is light on his feet at any moment and ready to attack, but doesn’t conventionally charge forward. He doesn’t telegraph his moves, and he is often able to use his strong kicks to make his opponents uncomfortable. While wrestling and grappling haven’t taken up much of McGregor’s game, he is a strong and grounded fighter with the coordination to stuff takedowns and keep the fight on the feet, and in his wheelhouse.
When it comes to striking, Mcgregor has showcased multiple types of attacks. First, there are his establishing strikes that consist of kicks and punches early in fights. These attacks are not intended to end the fight (even though they can), but are rather used to find his own tempo similar to UFC middleweight king, Anderson Silva in the first round. While McGregor begins finding his groove he simultaneously gets in the way of his opponents’.
The second category of strikes that “Notorious” throws are the ones with bad intentions. These dangerous attacks happen when he smells blood. He can and has ended fights with big clinch knees, heavy kicks and counter punches, that are made possible by swift head movement and awareness. This subtle defensive attribute of mcgregor’s opens the door to an overwhelming amount of opportunities to win a given fight.
Looking directly forward to Marcus Brimage, McGregor will face a former Ultimate Fighter contestant, and will be tested. How the Irishman handles his first task in front of Dana White and company will be an interesting indicator in his future among the world’s best fighters. Keep your eye out for this kid, he can fight.