Training Techniques That Set Conor McGregor Apart

In the years I have followed MMA, nobody has burst on to the scene quite like Conor McGregor. From his brash personality, to his impressive finishes in the cage, no one from this side of the Atlantic has garnered this much attention from a US audience.

McGregor is a very unique individual and elements of his training mirror that. Here are just a few examples where his approach to training has crossed over into many other fighters' training regimes.

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Movement training (Ido Portal style)

You'll often hear McGregor refer to 'human movement' during interviews. During open workouts or filmed training sessions, he often does body weight movements made famous by Ido Portal.

Elements of this type of training can be beneficial. However, I would stop short to involve this heavily in your training. It has clearly been successful for him, but I would not advise this for anyone. The same way I would not advise the gymnastic training Georges St Pierre made popular a few years back. Get the base movements down before introducing this type of training.


Tae Kwon Do

Having a strong kicking game is becoming more and more essential in MMA with fighters like Stephen Thompson and Yair Rodriguez displaying some devastating kicking attacks in recent months.

There are fighters such as Dan Hardy and Antony Pettis that come from a Tae Kwon Do background, but McGregor was one of the first guys that I saw that was training it as a single discipline prior to a fight, like fighters would training boxing or wrestling as a single discipline. With McGregor's striking foundation already at a high level, adding this to his arsenal brought an extra dimension to his game.


"Improvise, adapt and overcome"

This is something that has resonated with me. Even though many of his wins have happened quickly and with relative ease, the preparation for them have gone far from perfect.

Let's take his UFC debut vs Marcus Brimage as a first example. In the week leading up to the fight, McGregor got an infected wisdom tooth which consequently had to be removed the Wednesday prior to the fight. That did not phase him as he finished Brimage with 90 secs.

Another example is when he fought Dustin Poirier. In preparation for that fight, he could barely hit pads due to a damaged thumb, so instead of pulling out of the fight, he improvised and adapted his training by incorporating more kicking or Tae Kwon Do sessions to overcome the obstacle that was put in front of him.

I take a lot from this, as obstacles in training happen on a weekly or even daily basis. This could be issues such as injuries or being unable to make a session due to work commitments, but being able to improvise and make the best of any situation is something that you must be comfortable doing when training and competing in MMA.

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