What happened to Conor McGregor at UFC 257 against Dustin Poirier? Was he just the victim of a well placed kick that left his leg dead and his movement compromised? Or was it much deeper than that — did he set himself up to lose before even stepping in the cage because he was looking past Poirier at a boxing match with Manny Pacquiao?
Georges St-Pierre thinks it was a mix of both issues. The Canadian legend was recently on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, during which “Rush” noted that McGregor came in fighting with a boxing stance when he fought Poirier for the second time in Jan. 2021.
“When you’re in a boxing stance, very often your leg or your stance is wider and a lot of your weight is put on the lead leg, which makes you very vulnerable for those leg kicks,” St-Pierre said. “That could have been a big factor.”
But (and this should not be surprising coming from GSP) the biggest issue is mentality. How can McGregor come into fights with the right mentality now that he’s closing in on $1 billion in net worth?
“When I made my first million, of course my life has changed,” Georges said. “I had more security and I didn’t feel that I was fighting for the same reason that I was in the beginning in terms of security. When I was poor in the beginning, I was on the edge. I knew if I lost I would have been dead and my life would be a mess. When you get money, these things change. However, to keep performing, you need to get out of your comfort zone.
“You cannot stay in your comfort zone during a training camp because you’re trying to recreate the same element that you will face for a fight,” he continued. “When you’re gonna fight, you won’t be in your comfort zone, so it is imperative that Conor, if you want to get back on the road of success, he needs to get out of his comfort zone. He needs not to be the boss of his training camp. He needs his coaches to tell him now you’re gonna spar this guy, you’re gonna go there, do this. Even if it doesn’t please him, he needs to go through that.”
“Because if you stay in your comfort zone, the only thing that can happen is you will go down. You need to do that.”
Few people know for sure what’s going on inside McGregor’s camp — whether he’s gone rogue and is running things like a lazy millionaire rather than a hungry prospect with something to prove. He’s still got the same team around him that took him to the top before, and they seem pretty aware of the changes needed.
“It’s fixing a small enough area, get that back into the whole game,” McGregor’s head coach John Kavanagh told BT Sport recently. “Not going in with a sort of with a boxing mentality, going in with an MMA mentality. Conor was always famous for his movement, his ability to change stances, his bounce as he would say. We got to bring that back. It’s there, it’s under the hood, it’s not skills that have to be learned even relearned, they just have to be re-ignited. We have already started that process.”