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'It is a false narrative' - Chael Sonnen explains why Conor McGregor's conditioning is not a weakness

Floyd Mayweather Jr. v Conor McGregor
Floyd Mayweather Jr. v Conor McGregor
Modified 20 Jan 2021

Former UFC middleweight title contender Chael Sonnen believes that Conor McGregor's conditioning problem has become a 'false narrative.'

Conor McGregor almost always finishes his fights in the first or second rounds. Whenever he can't, things start to get a bit complicated for 'The Notorious One' since his strategy usually drains most of his energy early in the bout.

Conor McGregor's next opponent, Dustin Poirier, has revealed that he will try to get the fight to the late stages. Talking about the concept that Conor McGregor has a fatigue problem, Sonnen dissected the Irishman's record to prove that he does not.

"I can't take the 'Conor McGregor has conditioning weaknesses' thought, I can't take it anymore. I've never seen it, and I argue that you've never seen it. It is a false narrative that won't seem to go away now. Poirier's side has made a statement today - that's why I bring this up. It says, 'ah, we're going to expose the conditioning weaknesses in Conor McGregor,' I would never question Poirier's conditioning. You could go back and see his most recent fight with Dan Hooker. That was a war for 25 minutes. Poirier never backed down. The harder things get, the better they are for him, which is a direct result of your conditioning. I just don't think it's wise to question Conor's," analyzed Sonnen.

Sonnen thinks that Conor McGregor has proved that he does not have a fatigue problem in the same fights he gets criticized for: Against Nate Diaz and Floyd Mayweather. In the first, Conor McGregor moved up two categories; In the second, he competed in a different sport.

"So, I don't think it's a real narrative. I do think there is something to [Poirier's] strategy, though. Because if you're talking about 'exposing his conditioning,' what you're talking about is getting the fight late. That part I like. Drag Conor out there a little bit. I will admit, he's the most dangerous in the first round. He's more dangerous in the first round than he is in the fourth round. But to talk that Conor doesn't have the grit, the toughness, or the conditioning, that is a fake narrative," said Sonnen. "Based on two sporting events: One where he went up not one but two weight classes, and one where he went to a sport that he had never done before."

Chael Sonnen praises Conor McGregor for his losses

UFC 196: McGregor v Diaz
UFC 196: McGregor v Diaz

Chael Sonnen continued his argument by exemplifying the two occasions that made people think that Conor McGregor did not have great stamina. The first, Sonnen believes, was Conor McGregor's first UFC defeat against Nate Diaz. The second, when he faced Floyd Mayweather in the boxing ring.

But according to Sonnen, this proves the opposite. It shows that Conor McGregor had enough determination and conditioning to train enough to get from featherweight to welterweight in only three months; it tells that Conor McGregor could compete in a different sport at a very high level for over 30 minutes. 

"Conor has lost two matches before because he got tired and had to stop fighting. The first of which was against Nate Diaz, the second was against Floyd Mayweather. So, if you come up with 'well Chael, you just admitted it.' I've admitted nothing. I've admitted to you nothing. Conor McGregor was a 145 pounder who went up to 170 lbs to face Nate Diaz. He never should have been in there. He never should have agreed on that weight. And when he came out and had no experience on that weight and dropped that left hand that puts so many other people down, and Nate was still standing there like it never happened and coming at him. Yes, it broke him, I get it. And yes, Conor admitted it: 'I was not efficient with my energy.' He redid the match, he changed a little his strategy, he did not put everything into those hands, and he then went 25 minutes and never backed down," said Sonnen. "When you talk about Conor with Floyd guys, you try it. Go do something that you're not used to doing, no matter what level of shape you're in. Conor eventually got tired with Floyd, half an hour into the fight. I watched Canelo [Alvarez] get tired against Floyd nine minutes into the fight."

Published 20 Jan 2021, 04:01 IST
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