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Conor McGregor continues to generate headlines without trying. He’s in hypothetical matchups with everyone from Paulie Malignaggi to Georges St. Pierre. However, the most obvious matchup, with Tony Ferguson, seems to be gaining traction. McGregor’s teammate Artem Lobov spoke about it as the most logical matchup, and now McGregor’s striking coach says he is on board as well.
Not only Conor’s striking coach, but one of the pioneers of Irish MMA, “Rowdy” Owen Roddy opened up recently about where the ethereal Irish superstar is at. Although previously he had been touting Nate Diaz as McGregor’s next opponent, it seems the hype Tony Ferguson has been able to generate has had an effect. Via the Maclife.com:
“It’s exciting,” Roddy said, speaking on the Severe MMA podcast “Talking Brawls“. “When the word goes out like that, and people start to talk about it, it’s usually not far off the deal being done. It could be a good one. Ferguson is the interim champion and rightfully so, he had a good performance against Lee. And he’s had a lot of good performances.
“I’d like to see it. People, including myself, were talking about the Diaz fight, but who knows that may come again. But if it’s Ferguson, that’s going to be a cracker as well. I still see Conor — if they’re standing for any sort of extended period, it’ll be a quick one and that’s it.”
He thinks that in terms of striking, Ferguson is not as clean as McGregor. He admits Ferguson can bring problems on the ground, but if Conor can keep his characteristic composure, then the grappling is solvable as well.
“He’s just not as tidy as Conor,” Roddy said. “You play the percentages, and Conor’s the cleaner, more refined striker. Ferguson is tough, he’s unorthodox, but in my opinion Conor’s just the superior striker.
“You got to give it to Ferguson, he’s tricky on the ground and he’s got some nice submissions and stuff. But if it was to go to the ground and Conor keeps it simple, and doesn’t get caught up in any of that crazy stuff [he’ll be fine].”
Tony Ferguson recently received his black belt from Eddie Bravo- in fact, was awarded with Eddie Bravo’s own black belt. But Roddy isn’t too worried about his 10th Planet style of Jiu-Jitsu.
“It’s a great style,” Roddy said of Bravo’s system. “It’s great if you’re getting caught up in that guard, because you don’t know it. But I think if you’ve got very good fundamentals, it makes it very difficult for you to get anything off in 10th planet. I think some of it as well is a little bit attribute based. you need to be really, really flexible to play that rubber guard stuff.
“But if you go in there lazy and you don’t know that game, you can be caught out very quick — But that wont be the case if Conor does go and meet Ferguson. We have a lot of guys in the gym that play that 10th planet style, watching Tony seeing what he likes to use, and having answers and options if that occurs.”
He then related where McGregor is after the whirlwind of a 100-million dollar fight with Floyd Mayweather and the extensive partying McGregor has been engaging in, since. He said if Conor wants to fight at UFC 219 on December 30th, that would be possible.
“If Conor wants to go at the end of the year, then we go straight into camp,” Roddy said. “He came back training last week, and got a couple of sessions in. He’s back in the gym, after the whole whirlwind. I think it’d be great to let him get back training and enjoy training and take it from there. But at the end of the day, whatever happens happens. If we go into camp tomorrow, we go into camp tomorrow and that’s it.”
If so, he reiterated that the important part is what fight makes the most money for McGregor and his team:
“It’s an exciting fight isn’t it?” he said. “[Ferguson] definitely brings problems, and people are asking for it, and that’s the most important thing. Money talks at the end of the day, and whatever makes the most money is what both people would go for. But because people are asking for it and posting about it, that’s starting to generate the momentum that they needed to get that big fight. It’ll be a good fight. It’ll definitely be a good fight.”
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