Conor McGregor is one of the most famous fighters in the UFC right now. He’s well-known for his powerful strikes, but he’s come up short a few times before in his career. Notably, he’s lost to Nate Diaz and more recently, to Khabib Nurmagomedov. Here’s what Joe Rogan and his guest had to say about why McGregor is coming up short in some of his fights.
What Joe Rogan and Firas Zahabi had to say about Conor McGregor
Firas Zahabi, who is the head coach at Tristar Gym, is also one of the most knowledgeable guys in the game. He went on The Joe Rogan Experience a while back, and he and Rogan talked about many things, including McGregor. They discussed how McGregor gasses out in many of his fights, including in his two infamous fights against Diaz.
For example, during his second fight with Diaz, McGregor got so tired that Rogan said, “He turned and walked away from him, he needed that break so badly.” That’s because, as both men mentioned, McGregor has a tendency to sprint in the early rounds, which can gas him out in the later rounds.
This was especially apparent in McGregor’s last fight, which was against Donald Cerrone. The former champion went full throttle against his opponent and knocked Cerrone out in less than a minute. While this may just be a strategic choice by McGregor, Zahabi thinks that it actually limits his potential due to his genetics.
Are Conor McGregor’s issues genetic?
According to Zahabi, when it comes to punching power, it’s mostly genetics. As Zahabi said, McGregor’s ‘touch of death’ comes at a cost. That’s because punching power mainly depends on where your muscles are attached to your body and what kind of muscle fibers they are. Fast-twitch muscle fibers, according to Zahabi, “can hold less oxygen, but it can twitch faster.”
These fast-twitch fibers, according to Zahabi and Rogan, are what allows men like McGregor to have that ‘touch of death.’ The statistics back it up, as McGregor has only won fights by knockout in the first or second round. McGregor has never knocked anyone out after the second round.
Like Zahabi said, fighters with fast-twitch fibers, since those muscles can hold less oxygen than slow-twitch fibers, will get tired and have weaker strikes in the later rounds.
This would explain why McGregor never knocks anyone out in the later rounds, while fighters with slow-twitch fibers, such as Floyd Mayweather, according to Zahabi, do knock people out in those rounds.
How true is this analysis?
The main issue with this analysis is simply that we don’t know for sure what kind of muscles McGregor has. Nobody has done a test to see if he has fast-twitch or slow-twitch fibers, so Zahabi’s analysis is just an educated guess. It may very well be true, though, as McGregor, even after improving his cardio, still gasses out in the later rounds.
That said, McGregor gassing in the later rounds isn’t the only reason why many fans don’t consider him to be the best UFC fighter ever. McGregor does have the ‘touch of death,’ but the UFC isn’t boxing.
There are other ways that a fighter can win a fight other than knocking their opponent out. This was especially true when McGregor fought Nurmagomedov, who’s one of the best wrestlers in the game.
Nurmagomedov took McGregor down whenever he wanted and totally dominated him from there. While the former champion isn’t a slouch on the ground, this is one of his well-known weaknesses. That’s how Diaz beat McGregor when they fought for the first time. Diaz also has a great ground game and he totally schooled McGregor when the fight went to the ground.