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This seems... wrong. Conor McGregor, who is not even close to the fittest athlete in mixed martial arts, was ranked the 9th fittest athlete in the world for 2018 by Sports Illustrated, ahead of athletes like Canelo Alvarez, Russell Westbrook, Luka Modric, triathlete Patrick Lange, and two-time Olympic gold medalist rower Hamish Bond.
To back up their claim, SI cited McGregor’s ability to compete in both boxing to mixed martial arts. There are a couple problems with that. Firstly, McGregor’s lone boxing match didn’t take place in 2018. Secondly, while McGregor certainly gave as good an account of himself as anyone could reasonably expect in terms of skill, Mayweather was still able to finish him... because he gassed. In McGregor’s lone MMA bout in 2018, he gassed again, giving up a fourth-round rear-naked choke to exhausting grappler Khabib Nurmagomedov. This is not the first trouble McGregor has had with his fitness. He lost to Nate Diaz at UFC 196 because he got tired and then Diaz rocked him; he struggled in the rematch to overcome the same symptoms of fatigue, but pressed through to a five-round victory in his most impressive display of fortitude to date. It is hard to imagine ranking McGregor 9th on any fitness list when his cardio-respiratory fitness is, in fact, a recurrent problem for him. You can read SI’s stated selection criteria here.
Sports Illustrated needn’t have looked far for a better delegate from mixed martial arts. The insanely conditioned Max Holloway, McGregor’s successor as featherweight champion, returned from a worrying health scare to set an all-time UFC record for the most strikes landed in a round and a fight. Robert Whittaker outlasted a clobbering from Yoel Romero due to his phenomenal conditioning in the Fight of the Year. Khabib Nurmagomedov destroyed both McGregor himself and Al Iaquinta with apparent ease. Dustin Poirier and Tony Ferguson both used their phenomenal conditioning to win tough, spectacular fights, as did UFC featherweight contender Alexander Volkanovski. If they want to cite an ability to compete in multiple combat sports, Israel Adesanya transitioned from an extremely successful kickboxing career to beat ranked mixed martial artists in impressive fashion within a year of his UFC debut. The point is, there are a lot of mixed martial artists Sports Illustrated could have chosen, but their only real metric appears to have been fame, in this case.
Paige VanZant on Good Morning America
Takeru training with Duane Ludwig
This fight seems like it could be fun, but also kinda pointless.
Stephen Thompson vs. Anthony Pettis at 170 pounds is verbally agreed to for the March 23 fight night event, which is expected to be in Nashville. Fight isn’t signed just yet but expected to be finalized shortly. Story coming to ESPN in a bit.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) January 15, 2019
Edson Barboza vs. Justin Gaethje is much more exciting. Gaethje should be the favorite, but Barboza is tough as nails, throws excellent body shots, and could really do some damage kicking Gaethje on his way in.
Jackie Chan was an incredibly talented martial artist
This guy got more than he bargained for
Road rage victim ends up being heavy handed & drops his attacker with both hands! pic.twitter.com/wzVQtu3KM2— EditinKing Boxing (@EditinKing) January 13, 2019
It would be funny if TJ Dillashaw made weight and Henry Cejudo missed
Combat sports are back with a vengeance this weekend
Alistair Overeem is focusing on the important things in life
Best call home a fighter can make pic.twitter.com/tHXPnQiMMm— Alistair Overeem (@Alistairovereem) January 14, 2019
The pop lock was amazing
Kevin Lee gets his ass kicked by little girls at gymnast exercises. Its amazing how hard it is doing stuff that was easy as a little kid.
Matt Brown is back kicking the pads
Derrick Lewis is back with the content, and this guy is... not quite right.
Amanda Nunes and Nina Ansaroff are a cute couple.
“There is no reason to be alive” is a peak mystical caption from Gunnar Nelson. Just how much weight is he lifting?
Slips, Rips, and Sumo Clips
Spinning elbows are always cool
I love the variety in sumo wrestling. Sometimes a match is a back-and-forth battle of footwork
Sometimes its a head-on clash
Sometimes a sumo wrestler will play the matador with success
Day3 Shining Kagayaki (L) vs windmill Abi. Some describe Abi’s forward leaning tsuppari and timing stepping back at just the right moment as “risky”. Maybe so, but he manages this risk extremely well, maybe he should be my banker. #Hatsubasho pic.twitter.com/6MvvHKhE7K— SumoSoul (@TheSumoSoul) January 15, 2019
Sometimes its a tactical battle of position that ends with a throw
This was hilarious above and beyond politics. We can see his brain slowly melting in real time
This is the news photo that would make a returning time traveler realize they fucked something up pic.twitter.com/DwKe35Uicm— Jess Dweck (@TheDweck) January 15, 2019