As the title says, I think Conor needs to be assessing how he spends his time going forward. I ponder in this article whether his use of Ido Portal should be phased out? Especially if he makes a move to 155. He already moves well, for me, his use of a movement coach is like Mark Kerr using a personal trainer to work on his traps.
https://www.the-newshub.com/combat/conor-mcgregor-more-dojo-less-ido-portal"Who do you train with?" - After his long frame and black belt Gracie Jiu-Jitsu swamped the McGregor mystique at the MGM Grand on Saturday, it is a question that not only Nate Diaz is asking. Diaz's jibe was a swing for the perceived lack of talent in the training camp of Conor McGregor, especially in comparison to his own locker room, and especially to the calibre of Conor's ground game. But the most questionable piece of McGregor's training camp, one that has received a host of mixed reactions, is his use of Ido Portal, Conor's movement coach. The practice and theory of movement has seen something of a resurgence in MMA over the last 12 months, but like vinyl to music and beards to the common man, I believe movement is purely a fundamental, a foundation of martial arts.
If Conor moves up, he needs to move down, quite literally, body down, on the canvas, work. The only notable grappler that Conor trains with is Gunnar Nelson, who currently sits out of sight in the UFC welterweight rankings and was completely out classed on the mat by Demain Maia at UFC 194. If McGregor drops back to 145 and successfully defends his featherweight title, for me, it's a chapter closed in that division. Some could argue that he needs to fight both Aldo and Edgar before he can turn that page, but why would a fighter who is consistently moving forward want to loiter in a division that he conquered so resoundingly. Conor moves up to 155 permanently after he defends at 145, and should this successfully happen, he absolutely needs to remove Portal and bring in some high level mat work.
Conor naturally moves well, you only have to look at him against Marcus Brimage, before he introduced Portal, he cut angles whilst fighting backwards and still found that sweet spot. So why would you want to place so much time and focus on movement, when you already move so well. It's like Mark Kerr bringing in a personal trainer to work on his traps. Of course you want to hone your skills, and improve where you can, but surely to become a complete mixed martial artist you need to fill in the gaps, find the missing pieces.
So is this misguided direction a pitfall of Conor's attitude, his disregard for others, or is it the erroneous training methods at SBG - to not train for any particular opponent, but to be ready for all. I think it's both. Conor needs to respect the ground game more, I would have thought a lesson was learnt after the Mendes fight, but his height and range ultimately dug him out of that grave. But with Diaz, his length was nullified. Therefore I must question SBG. To not train for a specific opponent, especially if Conor moves to 155, is simply a ticking time bomb, one that we saw explode last Saturday. Conor should have fought a smarter fight against Diaz, as oppose to a one dimensional chin seeking mission. SBG should have developed a smarter game plan, we know how heavy Diaz stands on his lead leg. Conor needs more tools on the ground against bigger opponents, Nate rolled and flattened him far too easily.
But casting this all to one side, for all of Portal's involvement with Conor, did we really see a marked improvement on Saturday? No, if anything I thought we saw regression at times. If Conor is to move to 155 he needs to reconfigure his time, more dojo, less Ido.