UFC: McGregor’s Coach And Khabib’s Dad Discuss Their Upcoming Fights
In the last two weeks, the UFC has announced two huge fights for early 2020. Firstly, Conor McGregor’s return was officially confirmed, with the Irishman set to face ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in the UFC 246 main event. And then within days, it was confirmed that Khabib Nurmagomedov will defend his UFC lightweight title against Tony Ferguson on April 18th, at what is expected to be UFC 249.
Speaking to MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast, McGregor’s long time striking coach Owen Roddy, gave an insight into Conor’s first training camp in over a year.
“Yeah, we’re back. Conor is so busy, you can’t tie him down outside camp. And I’ve got a lot on myself, I’m running the gym and I’m doing a couple of other things. When we’re not seen constantly working together people start saying – what’s going on? I’m not doing many interviews because I’m flat out and he’s doing all of his stuff as well. We’re in camp now, so it’s go time. The one thing Conor has been constantly doing is working on his strength and conditioning – he’s constantly staying in shape and he’s constantly eating clean – and you can see that straight off the bat. Now it’s time for us to execute a game plan and go in and do it on the night. I’m very excited to be back working with him, and I’m very excited that he’s back fighting in the UFC.”
McGregor hasn’t fought since UFC 229, where he was stopped by Khabib in the fourth round. According to Roddy, his training camp for that fight was ‘a bit sporadic’. Whereas that isn’t the case this time round.
“The training camp is structured way better. The last camp was just a bit sporadic. We didn’t know what time we were training at. Sometimes it was very late at night, sometimes it was early in the morning and nobody really knew. Even though we were making all of these sessions, I don’t think that’s good for you when he doesn’t even know what time he’s going to train at, just doing it off feel. For the past couple of months it’s been very regimented.”
“We’re training at 11am and 7pm every day. We’re doing strength and conditioning, whether it’s in the morning or evening, and then doing a technical session and it’s perfect. And you can see that’s reaping the benefits and rewards already from that. As I said, he’s been working on his strength and conditioning for a while before he even came into this camp, so now we’re not spending half the camp trying to get in shape or anything like that. Now, he’s in tip-top shape and now we’re just focusing on the game plan – coming up with a good game plan and going in and executing it.”
With the fight less than six weeks away, Roddy says McGregor is hungry, dedicated and motivated again.
“I think it’s great seeing Conor back enjoying what he’s doing, that’s the more important thing for me, for everybody and for Conor. You can see it in him – he’s enjoying it. I don’t know, he’s had a crazy couple of years man…I don’t know how he copes…nobody knows how he deals with what he deals with because there is so much…I can only imagine. He has so many businesses; I’m running my own business here and it’s 24/7. He’s got businesses that are worth millions and he’s got so much going, it’s chaotic I’d say.
“Now he’s after sorting everything out and he’s back doing what he loves to do. I think when you start to see some footage of him training, he starts to do his interviews and he starts building the fight, you’re going to see the old Conor back…I can see that already. When people see that, they’re going to say, ‘That’s the Conor we fell in love with.’ He has that hunger again. A hungry, dedicated and motivated Conor McGregor is a scary dude.”
A win for McGregor could very well see him get the rematch he’s been chasing for the last year, against Khabib. Although the former two division UFC champion has stated that he also wants to fight Jorge Masvidal, and Khabib has to get past the daunting task of facing Tony Ferguson.
In an interview with RT Sport (as transcribed by BJPenn.com), Khabib’s dad Abdulmanap spoke about the magnitude of his son’s fight with Tony.
“Because this isn’t the first attempt, I think it is one of the most important events in this sport. It was planned four times and called off twice because of Khabib and twice because of Tony. Millions of fans are waiting for it. There’s never been anything like this in UFC history. It’s the most important fight in UFC history. It is important not only for me but for my republic, my country, and all our supporters.”
Going into the fight with Ferguson, Abdulmanap acknowledged the improvement in his son’s striking over the years but insisted that Khabib will be looking to take the fight to the ground.
“Throughout all this time we were able to improve our skills in different aspects, especially striking technique. We surprise [opponents] more and more each time. Javier [Mendez – Head Coach at AKA] promises to surprise this time but Khabib won’t stray from his father’s plan.”
Khabib recently stated that he had lacked motivation in his last four fights, but it is clear that Team Khabib are taking the threat of Tony Ferguson very seriously.
“First of all, he’s got good endurance, a good winning streak. He’s been caught, but he finishes all his fights with submissions, cuts or technical knockouts. He has a good arsenal, he is a worthy opponent and we are preparing accordingly,” Abdulmanap concluded.
Do you think Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov will have their hands raised at UFC 246 and UFC 249?