Fans and analysts have been critical of Conor McGregor’s performance at UFC 196, many blaming the “weight gain” for his submission loss to Nate Diaz.
McGregor’s strength and conditioning coach John Connor does not believe that the loss had anything to do with Conor’s weight gain and that he was at “peak condition” going in to the bout. His words:
“Conor fought at the weight that he walks around at – always,” said Connor during a recent appearance on The Manual podcast (as transcribed by Seamus Raferty of PunditArena.com).
“We did more fitness work for this because we could. Because he was so tight at the weight for 145, we always had to be careful what we did because we couldn’t do too much. Because we didn’t want him putting on size, because it just makes it harder to get down there. He was at his peak condition going into that fight”.
When the subject of how much bigger McGregor seemed to look at UFC 196 compared to his previous octagon appearances came up, Coach Connor revealed that “Mystic Mac” has been transforming in physique ever since his decision win over Max Hollaway in 2013:
“If you look at his body, his body has transformed a lot since then. And his big thing is that, you look at him, his arse is bigger, which is more power, his hamstrings are a lot bigger, and his lower back is a lot bigger.”
According to Coach Connor, when McGregor fought Diego Brandao in Ireland in 2014, that was the biggest he’s ever been. Since that fight, the Irish superstar has basically been walking at the same weight. John believes that McGregor was just a kilo or two heavier than normal fight-weight when he took on Nate Diaz this past weekend in Las Vegas at UFC 196:
“So, he weighed in at 168 [prior to UFC 196]. So you’re talking 76 kilos. He was probably 1 or 2 kilos heavier than he was fighting in Dublin, fighting in Boston, fighting in Vegas against Poirier, I wasn’t there for July against Mendes so I don’t know, Aldo again it was probably the same. So he was only 1 and a half, maybe 2 kilos heavier than he was in those other fights”.
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