Welcome back, this time around we’re going to take a look at some of the stand up skills Conor shows and take a deeper look into the finer details of what makes his stand up so effective.
This series will cover the following: Movement, hand strategies, killing rhythm (landing the left cross), cutting off ground.
In these series, we’re gonna take an in-depth look Conor’s weapons and take a close look at Conor McGregor’s “movement.” He’s says “They don’t move like I move.” and lets see what that might mean, but First, we take a look at offense.
Conor is great when it comes to going on the offense (leading). Part of this is because he’s so good at breaking his opponent’s defensive rhythm. He has large variety of ways of breaking the defense rhythm.
In a fight, a fighter isn’t constantly in defense mode either constantly blocking or evading. They mainly initiate defensive actions when attacks come.
Conor uses a lot of feints to throw off the timing of their defense rhythm. He baits a reaction to their response and as soon as that defense comes down, BANG! Conor hits the opening at the precise timing where their defense opens. We’ll be exploring how he does that.
THE SHOULDER OF DOOM
Lets look at the first tool in Conor’s arsenal, his shoulder feint. Now, the crafty thing about Conor’s shoulder feint is that it looks like a cross, but in reality, it can be more than just a cross. Conor uses that shoulder well to feint and draw a response to the opponents defense. Once that defense is open, he can transition the shoulder feint into a variety of different attacks including the leaping uppercut, the stiff jab, or the hook. On occasions, he can sneak in a kick as well.
Conor has spoken once about he would “freeze them with my movement.” so lets take a closer look at an example of how movement can be used to trump the opponent. To give a feint power over the opponent, you must first sell the feint by making it a threat.
Once the threat of a cross has been established and sold to the opponent, the shoulder feint now can be used to draw the response you want. From there, the shoulder movement can be used for crafty transitions into other angular offensive choices that hit different angles around the guard, and here are a few examples:
With just that simple shoulder movement alone, Conor has the luxury of hitting a variety of different angles by going under the guard with the uppercut, straight through the guard with the jab or around the guard with the hook.
There are a few different ways Conor can use the shoulder feint to his disposal:
1) He can use it to draw a defense pattern and hit the time frame where openings are exposed or hit them at timings where their rhythm is thrown off by the shoulder movement( examples above). Bernard Hopkins has mentioned before that one of the best times to catch an opponent is when they’re trying to establish their rhythm. Conor does a good job using this concept to open his opponents.
2) He can use the feint to cut the cage. In the example above, Conor feints and Max’s reaction is to give up ground, backing him up even closer to the cage. You’ll essentially cause the opponent to become stationary instead of evasive out of the premise that giving up ground over feints is not worth the space you sacrifice.
Hand Fighting of Doom
Hand fighting has been discussed before as part of one of the tools that Conor uses a lot in his game. It’s an integral part of how Conor leads in a fight. Just a brief summary of how hand trapping can be utilized (for those new to this concept); it can used to keep the opponents hands in check to prevent them from using their arms to attack, it can be used to pull down their guard to creating offensive openings, and it can be used to measure distance to the opponent.
The advantage of this is that you’re in such a neutral and balanced stance that if the opponent tries to attack you while hand reaching, you will have the stability to retreat, which makes it ideal for cutting off ground on fighters who try to retreat and counter.
Since this method works so well at making counter punching less effective, it’s a good way to trap them into the cage.
We know he can land his left cross with hand fighting, but how?
It’s time to get in-depth with Conor’s hand fighting now. You see, the hand fighting happens quickly and can be so subtle that it’s sometimes hard to see and is easily missed. (Fun fact, I’ve had to study his fights at half speed just to catch the finer details). I’m gonna break down some very important uses of hand fighting and how Conor does a great job at to open the opponent up with it.
Think about this for a moment; when someone reaches their arm out to hand fight, you have a few options to deal with it:
1) Case 1, You let them hand trap your guard. Which you don’t want because they can simply pull down your guard and hit the opening
2) Case 2, you reach out where their own hand is to keep their reach/traps at bay. This ends up being the better choice to minimize them from forcing your guard apart.
3) Case 3, you use simultaneous counters to ward of the hand reaching. Example:
4) case 4, you simply move away. Also not recommended since you’re giving up ground over an action that’s subtle.
Now that we have a few different possibilities established for dealing with hand reaching, let’s get into the heart of this art. We’re going to focus on case 2, which is what usually happens in a fight–fighters reach their hands out to meet their opponent’s hand.
This is a very subtle game of manipulation here so pay close attention this concept and precisely where the hand is. When Conor reaches his hand out, his opponent reaches theirs out to meet Conor’s hand.
What does that mean? If they opponent is reaching out to Conor’s hand position, it means that Conor can now manipulate where he wants their opponent’s hand to be! knowing they will reach to meet his hand position, he throws his own hand out to bait their hand to that position. Once he gets his opponent’s hand where he wants it, he can work around or pass their hand. Examples:
Another example: bait the hand position, strike around it
Bait Hand out, and Flick Jab, Cross
The second hand fight trick Conor does is he leaves his hand out to bait their reach, then Conor kills their rhythm by abruptly changing to a quick rhythm of a flick jab to move his jab hand inside of their jab hand, and lands the left cross. Note the flick jab is basically used to parry their own lead hand aside to connect down the middle.
I try not to make the series to long because I don’t want everyone’s PC to explode from all the GIFs loading so we’re going to continue Part 2 where we discuss more tricks of the hand fighting in Conor’s arsenal.
Part 2 here