Conor McGregor returned to UFC with a bang, demolishing Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in just 40 seconds (watch highlights). A big part of his attack that led to the victory involved a pretty interesting tactic: shoulder strikes in the clinch. McGregor managed to smash Cerrone’s face up pretty bad with a series of these shoulders, leaving “Cowboy” bloody and possibly with a broken nose. So where exactly did this come from?
It’s not something we’d seen from the Irish sports star before.
”I’ve been banging people with the shoulder for a while now,” he explained to BT Sport after the fight. “I caught him off guard. I knew because he kind of froze. When I hit the first one I kind of felt like it was a good connection. Yeah, it’s a good shot of mine.”
These shoulder strikes showcase the incredible creativity of @TheNotoriousMMA #UFC246 (via @Sportscenter) pic.twitter.com/P8vIm7jWkT— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) January 19, 2020
He elaborated further during the UFC 246 post-fight press conference.
”They’ll have to say now — they already say, ‘Oh he’s just got a left hand,’” McGregor said. “They’ll have to say I’ve just got a left shoulder. A left hand and a left shoulder. The so-called experts of the game when they breaking down me skill set and saying I’m just a fighter with a left hand. Which is highly disrespectful and uneducated and you’d be surprised that so many of the supposedly knowledgeable people be claiming it as that.
“It’s a good shot in the clinch,” he continued. “You can really catch a man. I knew I caught him with the first one off guard and then I caught one or two more and when we separated the eye and the nose was busted. It’s a good shot. I’ve utilized that many a times in the gym.”
It’s not a McGregor invention, but certainly not the most common attack. We imagine now that other fighters have seen how effective it can be, we’re likely to see its use spread through UFC, the same way Anderson Silva’s infamous front kick became more common over the years since he used it to knockout Vitor Belfort cold. That’s bad news for anyone who doesn’t learn a defense, and good news for whatever rhinoplasty clinic in Las Vegas gets all the UFC’s business.
The production team is implying Rakim Cleveland broke Yusupov's jaw with a shoulder strike. If so, that's a new one. Cleveland wins by TKO R2 #PFL2 pic.twitter.com/26EneSFbdY— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) June 21, 2018
For complete UFC 246 results, including play-by-play updates from last night, click here. To check out the latest and greatest UFC 246: “McGregor vs. Cerrone” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.