Conor McGregor Style Breakdown Part 2

Welcome to part 2, if you missed part one, follow this link:

Part 2

Welcome back to part 2 where we continue off with the art of hand fighting–Conor McGregor.

There’s a certain trick to hand fighting that fighters keep aware of. One of the important factors in hand fighting is your hand positioning. It’s sometimes becomes a fight to see who gets the their hand higher above their opponent’s hand. The advantage of having your hand over your opponents is that you can parry it down to invite your own punches right through.

lawler hand trap top control.gif
Note that Robie Lawler was able to control his hand position above Rory’s hand. Parries pass his lead hand and fires a jab off and shoulder rolls away
conor top hand control.gif
Conor controls the dominant hand position, parries over a lead pass their hand and throws a cross

Max Holloway is one of the fighters in the UFC to have lasted 3 rounds with McGregor. Max’s demonstrated his own understanding of the hand game as well. Max managed to land the same hand fighting strategies Conor had pulled off.

max controls hand dominance
Max gains the top hand position, and parries his jab over, but Conor manages to evade
max controls the hand position, throws of the rhythm and bypasses hand position.gif
Here Max uses the same tick Conor has used. Bait the hand out, quickly flick jabs pass Conor’s jab.

Conor has a strong tendency to work off a variety kicks from his hand fighting as well. It’s one of the main habits Conor shows.

conor invites kicks off of hand trap.gif
Conor controls Max’s hand, meaning he wont be able to attack with it, allowing Conor to invite a kick without having to worry about that hand

When Conor leads, he’s got quite a few tricks to ensure his body moves into dominant angles. Generally speaking, he moves outside of the opponent’s lead leg. As a brief conceptual summary, moving outside the lead leg gives you an advantage because it denies the opponent many weapons to use against you because of the need of having to re-adjust to strike back.

He are a few habits Conor shows when going on the offense.

Note in the first one example, Conor uses a hop step but his feet shifts forward to follow up with upper body allowing him to maintain equilibrium in his stance.

conor hop step cross 2.gif
Conor regularly uses the hop step cross to close that distance while moving further to the outside of the opponent’s lead leg
hop step uppercut.gif
His most recognized offensive approach, his leaping lead uppercut while hop stepping outside the opponent’s lead leg.

Conor regularly practices landing the uppercut after hitting a new angle. The advantage of hitting a new angle first is that the opponent must turn to adjust to you, often leaving their guard open while re-adjusting.

conor pivoting hop step recover with push.gif
Conor hoping pivot to a new angle, lands a uppercut while His Mitt holder (John) is forced to adjust his feet to Conor’s new position

Let’s watch this concept in action.

conor pivot on brimage.gif
After stunning Brimage, Conor uses a check hook to pivot into a new angle. Brimage is now forced to adjust that right leg over to the new angle but while adjusting, Conor landed second uppercut

The uppercut was a perfect choice to land while Brimage was adjusting. The uppercut tends to be a high risk attack because of the dropping of the hand leaving your head exposed, but using in conjunction with hitting new angles ensures you a split time window where they won’t be able to attack unless they adjust to you first.


I wanted to mention a quick look at one of Conor’s defensive habits I enjoyed seeing. This isn’t his go-to defense but you’ll see it on occasion. The pushing block. AKA, Thai framing/stiff arming/ push blocking. Whatever you want to call it. It’s a good way to stuff their advancement and interrupt their technique.

conor defense push.gif
Conor Keeps his guard up while using the lead arm to control their body posture at bay or stuff their strikes.

A tool right out of a page from the “King of the Ring.”I do want to mention there are different styles of using this. I used Spong as an example because his style is similar to Conor’s.

spong push block comp.gif
Tyrone Spong using the push block to stop his opponent’s advancement

“They don’t move like I move.” In part 3, we explore movement.

part 3 here:


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