CONOR MCGRE­GOR

MMA FIGHTER OF THE YEAR

Black Belt - - SCREEN SHOTS -

CONOR NOR IS AN EFF EFFICIENTCIENT FIGHTER WHO EMP EM­PLOYS HIS PUNCHES AND KICKS VERY TAC­TI­CALLY AND ECO­NOM­I­CALLY.” — LITO ANGELES

C ould there be any­one else in the run­ning for 2017 MMA Fighter of the Year? No mat­ter how his much-bal­ly­hooed box­ing bout with Floyd May­weather turns out — it could take place as early as this fall — you have to ad­mit that Conor McGre­gor is set­ting the mixed mar­tial arts on �ire.

The en­er­getic Ir­ish­man has amassed a UFC record of 21-3. At 1ŠŠ pounds, he cur­rently wears the or­gani—ation’s light­weight belt. e pre­vi­ously held the feath­er­weight ti­tle and has fought as a wel­ter­weight. e’s renowned as a striker and a strate­gist, but there’s so much more to this mar­tial artist that de­serves men­tion.

A) Mc re­gor, 28, is smart — in­side and out­side the ring. “I be­lieve that Conor has achieved un­com­mon suc­cess due to his un­com­mon thought pat­terns,” said Black Belt all of Famer Bur­ton ichard­son. “e thinks dif­fer­ently about how he trains and how he �ights. e’s a su­perb ex­am­ple of how a ra­zor-sharp in­ter­nal phi­los­o­phy can lead to an ex­tra­or­di­nary ex­ter­nal man­i­fes­ta­tion.”

Just how sharp is Mc re­gorǫ “ere’s a guy who has never had a sin­gle box­ing match but who has ma­neu­vered him­self into po­si­tion to �ight for the world cham­pi­onship while earn­ing up­ward of $Š0 mil­lion,” ichard­son said. “That says it all.”

Black Belt all of Famer Kelly McCann agrees. “Conor Mc re­gor’s big­gest ac­com­plish­ment is to have �ig­ured out the busi­ness of MMA to his ad­van­tage,” he said. “e would never have been in the po­si­tion to make that mat­ter �inan­cially if he wasn’t win­ning �ights against top con­tenders in three weight di­vi­sions.”

B) And then there is Mc re­gor’s phys­i­cal skillǣ “Conor is an ef�icient �ighter who em­ploys his punches and kicks very tac­ti­cally and eco­nom­i­cally,” said ito Angeles, au­thor of Fight Night! A Think­ing Fan’s Guide to Mixed Mar­tial Arts. “e’s pre­dom­i­nantly a striker, a south­paw. is stances are karate­based — wide front and side stances. is straight left hand is a hy­brid box­ingȀkarate punch. It’s his bread-and-but­ter punch and his most pow­er­ful.

“Conor is a skilled coun­ter­puncher who ef�iciently ex­ploits the open­ings that his op­po­nents give him when they at­tack. e is es­pe­cially adept at us­ing a straight left or over­hand left to counter an op­po­nent’s right-hand punch.”

C) Mc re­gor’s record bears a few blem­ishes, but there’s a good rea­son for what’s per­haps the most note­wor­thy oneǣ “Conor’s loss to ate Dia— was mainly due to strate­gic er­rors that af­fected his car­dio,” ichard­son said. “e went up a weight class, which means he was burn­ing more en­ergy than usual. hen he landed some good punches, he pushed too hard, think­ing that he could knock Dia— out. e was wrong and gassed by the end of the �irst ȏroundȐ. e seems to have learned from that ex­pe­ri­ence — as ev­i­dence, he went �ive full rounds with Dia— and earned a de­ci­sion vic­tory.”

D) And then there’s the bravadoǣ “I am not a big fan of it, but I be­lieve Conor knew that this was the way to be­come a megas­tar,” ichard­son said. “e backs it up with phe­nom­e­nal �ight­ing skill and has used it bril­liantly to make the value of his stock sky­rocket. If the point of be­ing a pri—e�ighter is to make money, then Conor Mc re­gor has shown the way.”

Angeles summed it upǣ “Mc re­gor is on top be­cause he has ex­cep­tional skill, will and charisma all wrapped in one per­son. hile his un­ortho­dox style is unique and ob­vi­ously very ef­fec­tive, his great­est strengths are his sharp mind, his willpower, his to­tal con�idence and his un­wa­ver­ing be­lief in him­self. e lives, eats, sleeps and breathes mar­tial arts.” For these rea­sons, Black Belt presents its award for 2017 MMA Fighter of the ear to Conor Mc re­gor.

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