Jose Aldo vs Conor McGregor, the keys to Victory Part 2 of 2

If you missed part 1, here it is:

Aldo vs Conor part 1

Part 2

The next Muay Thai skill Aldo should utilize is timing the chopping leg kick. He should use this to time his counters when Conor uses kicks.

saiyok similtan... counter with leg kick.gif
Reasonably speaking, if you’re technique is on point, theoretically, your guard should defend your face from punches

The chopping kick has also proven effective against Conor

siver trips conor with sim kick.gif
Timing the kick when Conor can’t check
Dustin kicks conor while he advances.gif
Timing when Conor advances and can’t check

The Oblique Kick is another issue that everyone has issues dealing with. I’d like to see more creative counters to this.

conor oblique kick.gif

In Muay Thai, if the lead leg is targeted, they utilize the leg pull back with countering, which can easily be implemented in the MMA setting.

saiyok leg retreat counter to kicks.gif

Note in the example of Conor using the oblique kick, if you we’re to pull the leg back to evade the oblique kick, you can return a strong solid kick back to Conor’s leg. When Conor throws the oblique kick, he ends in a linear stance, make it hard to check kicks since his hips aren’t squared up to block.


Firas Zahabi has made a very strong point about how Aldo deals with kicks. He tends to move away, often using the swiping motion to parry attacks, never really following up or chaining counters off the defense.

aldo parries kick.gif
Evade and parry, but not return counter

Firas goes onto mention that evading wont stop Conor from using those kicks. If Aldo wants to reduce the kicks, he’ll need to do more than evade and parry. He must make him pay by countering back, making him think twice about throwing the kicks.

We’re not asking for any fancy counters like Saenchai’s cartwheel kick

saenchai cartwheel kick.gif

However, Buakaw’s signature kick hook counter would suffice as a viable option against kicks. Aldo shouldn’t have to worry about close engagements given his wrestling credentials grant him an advantage int he even moving to close results in the clinch.

Aldo parries kick.gif
Instead of evading and parrying, it might prove more effective to counter instead
buakaw kick counter.gif
Buakaw’s lead hook counter to kick

I’m not gonna lie, I was just actually watching Aldo practice this counter in a recent video of him training for Mcgregor, but I can’t for the life of me find that video again. It’s sleeping deep in the sherdog forums somewhere. ahh well.

I think we might see some beautiful Muay Thai more similar to this

jose blocks kick and returns counter.gif
Blocks, parries the leg down into a linear stance, returns his own Kick where lamas can’t check.


Aldo also has the luxury of deterring kicks with takedowns. We’ve seen Aldo pull back on kicks against those who threaten to take him down like Florian and Edgar. Aldo not only can do the same, his ground game is solid enough to establish the threat that if Conor kicks. Aldo can make him pay the price of falling behind on the scorecards rolling with Aldo.

Aldo could easily press the distance to smoother the range Conor needs to be creative with kicks as Dos Anjos did to Pettis.

I didn’t want to quite discuss this, since it’s more about the fighter’s conditioning, but Conor showed to get sloppy and lose steam after having to work the ground against Mendes. After the first round, Conor’s technique was no longer clean. Aldo, could in theory purposely bring the fight to the ground and force Conor to work with Aldo’s weight on him until he loses steam, then later take advantage of his state later. Again, this isn’t a certain known to expect because you never know how well they will enter the fight conditioned and ready.



As it stands, Conor has plenty of tools to give him the edge. His kicks can take advantage of the slipping motions Aldo uses. That spinning back kick can catch the head easily if timed right. Conor can easily time his kicks on an opponents own counters. The advantage of this is that Conor can counter with kicking range, making the punching range ineffective.

conor back kicks brandao.gif
Conor’s calf just about grazing across the chest and part of the face of Brandao.

Changing between punching and kicking range can be a deceptive manner. If you can detect the opponent will use simultaneous counters in the punching range, you can simply meet their simultaneous counters with your own at kicking range where they can’t reach you.

In the first piece of Aldo’s breakdown, I touched on the subject to show how Anthony Johnson used this concept to knockout his opponent.

rumble punch kick range manipulation
Rumble using a simultaneous counter in kicking range against his opponent’s simultaneous counter in punching range.

The only issue Aldo might have is keeping his rear guard up in case the kick comes up higher and making sure he recognizes his counters will meet proper punching range. He he doesn’t, Conor could take advantage.

Aldo check hooks kick miss

We discussed that Conor is great at migrating between two different ranges — the punching and kicking range. Conor could use this to meet Aldo’s usual countering in the punching rage. The strategies Conor can do is to get Aldo comfortable in the punching range and then abruptly switch ranges to catch him.


Considering Conor’s offensive approach of hand fighting, history has shown how well it’s worked to cut Aldo off into the cage. Not to mention, since Aldo likes to fight more dominantly as a counter striker, Conor can essentially deny him one of the most strongest aspects of his game –his countering, by cautiously using his hand to measure distance.

chand hand trap
Cutting off ground from Aldo

if you missed my piece on articles fighting style, just to give you an idea of his countering style and habits, you can check it out here:

If you missed my piece on Conor’s fighting style, check this out to get an idea of all the tricks in Conor’s arsenal as well as the tricks behind his “movement.”

Keep in mind, his hand fighting is one of the very tools that allow him to invite that left cross. If you haven’t already, check out the Conor breakdown to see how.


For Conor, he needs to be careful with Aldo’s kicks. He needs to ensure that Aldo doesn’t time those kicks. He needs to first recognize that Aldo will look to time those kicks. Once he knows Aldo is looking to time the kick, he could feint to bait the kick out and take advantage of this missed kick to close in. This isn’t to say Aldo couldn’t do the same back to Conor.

lastly, in the even that Aldo does bring a gameplan to take him down, it might be in Conor’s best interest to disengage after his approaches. He has demonstrated that ability quite often.

Conor cage spacing push
Pour on the offense, create distance to prevent grappling
Entering with offense and exiting with disengagement work well for Holm to prevent getting taken down

Let’s get to some of the numbers (may not be the most exciting part).

With all this information you now understand one very important factor that that makes this fight go either way– they both have tools to deny each others own strengths. Aldo’s ability to use ground/grappling game to smother the range needed for Conor’s creativity, or Conor’s pressure style to render Aldo’s countering tendencies ineffective.

Aldo’s Advantages

  • The first advantage Jose Aldo has are his leg kicks. Yes, Aldo is good at landing leg kicks, often kicking the legs by timing them when the opponent can’t check or by landing them with set ups. He has shown the ability to fight without his kicks in his fight with Korean Zombie where he had supplemented his ground game on Korean Zombie to gain points when he couldn’t gain them through his usual kicking game.
  • Speed, Jose Aldo is one of the quickest fighters Conor will be facing. Conor’s movement and habitual tendencies will need to be adjusted otherwise his defensive rhythm may get thrown off.
  • Aldo has an excellent ground game, takedown defense and has proven himself against the best wrestlers in the division. Not only will he not need to worry about getting taken down, he has the disposal of migrating between striking and wrestling to dynamically keep Conor guessing. Aldo’s takedown rate would suggest he may not take Conor down though.
  • Has never been knocked out in his MMA career and has tasted the power of all of the elite in the division, so it’s not an easy thing to claim he will get knocked out.
  • Excellent movement and diverse counter striking in conjunction with creating angles. There’s a reason why Aldo has such a good strike defense percentage. He’s very crafty and creating defensive angles and evasive distance.
  • Cardio? Can’t say, we wont know how well they’re conditioned until the fight comes.

Conor’s Advantages

  • Dynamic tricky kicks. His kicks cover a wide range and come in deceptive rhythms, making it hard for any fighter to deal with
  • Power. I don’t think I need to discuss this, we all know he’s got that show stopper left cross.
  • Range and distance control. Conor will have the ability to strike at ranges where Aldo won’t be able to without moving forward. He’s also got a talent for switching between different ranges. In addition, his hand fighting range will be greater than Aldo’s.
  • Conor’s never been knocked out either despite eating strong shots.
  • Conor has a huge arsenal of rhythm killing boxing and kicking tools in his arsenal. We have yet to see the full extent of this too.
  • Conor has excellent movement designed for fluidity to move to new positions or to work offensively off of movement.
  • Cardio? I’m not sure. We won’t know how well his cardio is until the fight.

Tale of the Statistics

Orthodox Aldo has a 72% percentage rate of total strikes avoided due to his evasive nature. A godly 91% The percentage of total takedowns avoided because of his excellent grappling and BJJ (keep in minds, it’s against the most elite wrestlers too). He’s got a small 3.29 rate of strikes landed per minute due to his patient tendency to fight off the counter and not approach. His average takedown per 15 minutes is relatively small at 0.93 which is a direct reflection that Aldo likes to keep the fight standing. His significant striking accuracy is just about on par with Conor at 43%.

What does Conor’s statistics tell us?

Southpaw Conor, he’s got a 64% striking defense rate, and 67% takedown defense rate (which went down 36% with a single fight with Chad Mendes). His significant strikes per minute are quite high compared to Aldo with a 5.44 which can be attributed to Conor’s pressure style and constant ability to strike off the defense and offense. Surprisingly, His takedowns per 15 minutes is at 1.93, about double the rate of Aldo’s.

I’m looking forward to this fight just like everyone. I did this for both sides to appreciate both fighters. I wrote this in a way that lets you see all the info so that you can come up with your own conclusion. Regardless of what happens, they both deserve respect.


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