How Good Is Conor McGregor? I Don't Know
Conor’s performance at UFC 246 was fantastic. We can all agree with that. Conor has an ability to impose himself on opponents and his laser focused strikes make him a danger for any opponent even seconds into the fight. Defeating Donald Cerrone and Jose Aldo in a combined 53 seconds says a lot about just how lethal Conor can be instantly into the fight.
However, I in being so dangerous early, it leaves a lot of questions unanswered that his opponent’s may post. Those who consider the quick dispatch of Cerrone to have been “predictable” are missing out on the vast amount of tools Cerrone brings to the table. Throughout his UFC career, Conor has never fought an opponent who utilizes kicks in addition to being the taller man. It’s one thing trying to get through the reach advantage of Nate Diaz, something McGregor struggling heavily with, but how would he deal with being held back behind a solid kicking game like Cowboy brings to the table?
This mimics the Jose Aldo fight. Those who made claims of “lucky punches” and “Aldo’s was in the wrong frame of mind” absolutely underrate a well timed counter to a fairly generic punch, however it doesn’t change the fact that Aldo brings a lot of the table that at that time, we didn’t know if Conor could answer. Even now, McGregor had big issues in landing leg kicks on Nate Diaz. It’s clearly not something he’s comfortable with and took a lot of damage from even landing the shots. How would he feel taking leg kicks from one of the most brutal kickers in the history of the sport?
Now, with McGregor returning after such a long layoff, regardless of his opponent we have plenty of questions. How will he handle it if he starts taking shots or slipping behind? Does he have the cardio to last for long durations? Will his timing or speed be impaired? What happens if it goes to the ground? The answer to each of these questions remains elusive, simply because of how dangerous Conor is early into the fight.
A good comparison for this situation is Volkan Oezdemir. He is a man who sent everyone to their slumber simply by grazing their cheek. His unending finishing prowess made it impossible overcome, until it wasn’t. Now, we know a lot about Volkan. We know where his strengths lie, where his weaknesses are. We have seen him lose to the better man on a few occasions. We know so much more about what Volkan Oezdemir brings to the table, simply because we’ve seen questions be asked and answered during his more recent UFC run.
With Conor McGregor, especially right now, there are many questions that remain unasked. What will happen when they are?