Two division UFC champion Conor McGregor has become perhaps the most popular mixed martial arts fighter to ever grace the UFC octagon. And with that explosion in worldwide fame. More and more people want to know about him, including what are the martial arts that he knows?
Born and bred in Dublin Ireland, Conor McGregor first started out in boxing before moving over into the sport of mixed martial arts. Along with his boxing base, he has also competed in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and trains regularly in Karate. But there’s more!
Conor McGregor’s Physical Stats
- HEIGHT: 5′ 9″
- WEIGHT: 155 lbs.
- REACH: 74″
- STANCE: Southpaw
- BORN: Jul 14, 1988
Some people commonly think because they see a fighter using a move or technique from a certain discipline, they must be experts in that martial art. That is not always the case and this also very much applies to Conor McGregor.
Conor is one of the most dynamic strikers to ever compete inside the UFC octagon. Using a combination of high level striking with great takedown defence. His left hand has become synonymous with knockouts. Stopping many of his opponents in devastating fashion.
So, for this reason, many people think that Conor is first and foremost a boxer. And they would not be wrong as this is where he focused most of his time before training fulltime in MMA.
“I started out doing some kickboxing and boxing, then a little Capoeira, Tae Kwon Do and Karate. The human body can move in many ways, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”Conor McGregor Telegraph interview 18 AUGUST 2017
So Conor mentions in his 2018 interview that he has dabbled in several different martial arts. And it appears as though he didn’t really apply himself to anyone in particular apart from boxing until he found mixed martial arts.
Training in boxing from the age of 11 until he was 17, Conor won a local title in his hometown called the Dublin Novice Championship. Around the age of sixteen, he would go on to win some other minor titles and his trainer at the time Phil Sutcliffe later commented;
“He trained very, very hard, he was one of the kids you never had to shout at, he was very focused. He wanted to be a good boxer and he was getting good, he was progressing well.”Phil Sutcliffe – Crumlin Boxing Club Coach
Making His Move To MMA
But boxing wasn’t for him and Mcgregor would begin to get itchy feet. And it was then that he discovered MMA, or grappling and wrestling as his former coach would call it. But as he became more engaged in his new sport, his love for boxing began to diminish.
Regularly missing boxing training to instead train in MMA. It wasn’t too long before Conor stopped boxing altogether and made the move into MMA fulltime.
So we can see from his time spent at Crumlin boxing club that he had a solid base and record in the sport. Something which would serve him very well when he made the permanent move to the sport which would define his career in fighting.
And with the vast majority of fighters coming into MMA with a base in a specific discipline. For Conor McGregor, it just happened to be boxing. And we can see the fruits of his years spent inside the boxing ring born out inside the cage and UFC octagon.
|Wins||22||19 KO/TKO (86%) | 1 SUB (5%) | 2 DEC (9%)|
|Losses||4||0 KO/TKO (0%) | 4 SUB (100%) | 0 DEC (0%)|
And interesting to note about Conor’s stats is that out of his 86% KO/TKO ratio. Only only one of those stoppages was via elbow strikes, with 18 coming by way of punches.
And while he may have used kicks and elbows in the lead up to the finish. It’s obvious from these stats that when we look at the overall picture. At his core, Conor McGregor is primarily a boxer who is exceptionally skilled in the sport of mixed martial arts.
MMA Is Multi-Discipline
But MMA is not a one-dimensional sport and as a result, if you want to be successful inside the cage, then you will need to cross-train in several disciplines.
In a hybrid form of martial arts that uses elements from several disciplines. With a focus on grappling, striking and submissions. So to get good at all these key aspects, it’s important to have a base in one of the key disciplines.
Famous champions such as Anderson Silva states that his base is that of Muay Thai, same for Jose Aldo Junior. Fabricio Werdum has a base in elite level Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
The double champion Henry Cejudo came to the sport from Olympic level wrestling. And heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic is a Golden gloves winner in boxing and the list goes on.
And while more and more athletes cross-train in mixed martial arts from the first day they enter the gym. There are still are many champions who have made the move from one sport to the other, only to see massive success. And this appears to also be the case for McGregor.
When he was starting out on his combat sports journey, mixed martial arts in Ireland was still in its infancy. So by the time he decided to stop boxing and take up MMA full time. His body mechanics had already been well versed in the sweet science. And like riding a bicycle, we never forget.
It’s Not Talent, it’s Dedication
But Conor himself has said that he believes he is not particularly talented. But that he works harder than anyone else and this is the reason for his success. And it’s a mindset that has seen him capture four world titles across two divisions, in two MMA promotions.
Bringing his strong background in striking, along with his well known tremendous work ethic. And coupled with the grappling knowledge and fighting IQ of long time coach John Kavanagh. McGregor was always destined to do big things in the sport.
As his career in MMA progressed, so would his rank in the martial art of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, where he currently holds a brown belt. One belt below black under John Kavanagh, which was given to him after he defeated Dustin Poirier in 2014. And in January 2020 coach Kavanagh told Business Insider that “his black belt is coming.”
So what will The Notorious one now in possession a black belt alongside his elite-level striking look like for his opponents? Another tool to help cement the legacy at his disposal, as he competes against some of the very best fighters on the planet.
On April 6th 2013, Conor McGregor announced his arrival on to the world stage. With a first-round stoppage over a solid competitor in Marcus Brimmage. With an uppercut punch that his former boxing coach said he had worked on very hard to perfect. It was to be the beginning for one of sports great stories.
As the former plumber’s mate went from being on the dole to scoring a knockout of the night in his debut fight, pocketing a solid $60,000 in the process.
Within four months McGregor was back inside the octagon to face off against one of the other rising talents in the division and future champion max Holloway. And with just one fight in the UFC, as he entered the arena the young Irishman had the Boston crowd on its feet. With UFC colour commentator Joe Rogan saying at the time;
” .. this is something unusual, this kid has got something.”Joe Rogan – August 17th 2013
And how right he was as the MMA fighter from Crumlin in Dublin would soon go on to capture the combat sports world imagination. Sealing his place in the annals of history as one of the best to ever compete.