Conor McGregor (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

The Skills That Put Conor McGregor at the Top of His Game

In every sport and every generation, there is a star who stands head and shoulders above the rest. This individual has a raw talent that sets them apart, but they also train harder and smarter than anyone else.

In the case of MMA, some consider Conor McGregor that someone. Possessed of incredible fighting skills, the diminutive Irishman has brought his sport into the public consciousness in a way no one else has before him.

This is no coincidence: McGregor has been vocal about his ambitions, speaking often on his desire to change the way martial arts are viewed. In 2021, he has accomplished this and more, with his incredible repertoire of skills having cemented his place in the history books.


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Despite his recent embarrassing loss, let’s take a look at the defining factors that have propelled the MMA superstar to the very top of his game.

His Vertical Stance

If there’s one thing MMA commentators wax lyrical about, it’s McGregor’s ability to remain vertical and balanced during his fights. The Irishman seems to dance in the ring, but his every movement is calculated and economical. He has complete control over his body, never falling into the trap of pitching weight onto his front leg and wasting energy.

This makes McGregor’s fighting style immensely efficient, with the Irishman marrying his vertical stance with a tendency not to bob or weave too much. All of this means that when his opponent begins to tire, he still has bags of energy to spare.

Maintaining Distance

McGregor is excellent at maintaining distance, but he doesn’t do it in the usual way i.e. by keeping his hands up. Unlike traditional boxers, who rely on constant jabs to keep their opponent at bay, he uses a series of kicks.

What this does is keep his opponent beyond punching range, so he’s not forced to continually hold his hands up in front of him. When they try to strike, he can then react only as he needs to defend himself, raising a hand on whichever side is under attack.

The fact his opponent is kept at a distance by his kicks also gives McGregor more time to see a strike coming and react accordingly.

The Bolo Punch

Another skill that features heavily in McGregor’s repertoire is the ‘bolo punch’. This takes its name from the bolo knife used in sugar cane fields, which was swept downward in order to cut the cane. In MMA, it’s a type of looping uppercut, which this iconic fighter has used with incredible success.

Its beauty lies in its ability to deceive one’s opponent and the fact it lifts their head up. In McGregor’s case, he uses such an opportunity to follow with a series of heavy punches. He’s utilized this move as his closer in numerous fights.

Covering Distance

Additionally, McGregor knows how to move – and we mean fast. He’s a master at maintaining distance, but he understands how to swoop in quickly when it suits him. There and gone in the blink of an eye, he often strikes before his opponent has time to register that he’s upon them.

He marries this skill with the use of hand and leg feints, which keep his competitor on the back foot. Then, when he’s ready to strike, he uses clever footwork to stop them from circling out. All the while, he’s strategizing, plotting when and how to close the distance between them and strike.

Focus and Confidence

Conor McGregor is a favorite among audiences; that much is evident by his popularity with those who gamble on his fights. There are many who use guides for MMA betting sites to place wagers and interact with these fights, placing money on the outcome and hoping they score a win. Often, through these guide sites, they’ll search out bonuses to make their cash go further or spend hours researching strategy and tips. The surest way to get a return on their money, however, is to back a winner, and McGregor has so often delivered.

In large part, this is because of his exceptional confidence and focus. When he steps foot in the ring, he does so with the sole intention of winning. He truly believes he’s the best fighter in the world, and he’s always aiming to prove this. It’s this incredible mindset that is his best asset, making McGregor the ultimate champion of champions. It’s also what’s seen him step out of retirement two times to date and that will likely see him do so again in the future.