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Joe Rogan Waxes Lyrical About Conor McGregor, Speaks On His ‘Underrated Ground Game’

Joe Rogan Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor’s name is one that is not likely to leave the headlines of the sporting world anytime soon, despite his self-imposed hiatus that will see him out of action until at least mid-way through next year. Love him or hate him, he simply commands attention like no one we have ever seen in the sport of mixed martial arts and is steadily becoming one of the biggest stars the sporting world as a whole has right now.

Following his dominant and virtually flawless victory over Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205, few could deny the legitimacy of McGregor’s talents inside the octagon. His naysayers, though still great in number, were forced to retreat for a while and deal with the immense level of praise that was heaped upon the Irishman on what was a monumental night for the sport.

Though the idea of McGregor as an elite-level talent has been one held by many for some time now, seeing him prove himself on possibly the biggest stage the sport had ever seen seemed to hammer that fact home for a lot of people.

One man who never doubted the abilities and potential of the Notorious One is the UFC’s #1 color commentator and all-round MMA guru, Joe Rogan, who on the latest edition of his weekly JRE Podcast, waxed lyrical on McGregor’s skills both inside and outside the octagon.

“He’s the best shit talker of all-time. I know I’ve said that before about other people. Before that, I said Chael Sonnen was the best shit talker of all-time and I think he was, for a while. But I think Conor tops him. Conor has an additional significance to his shit-talking cause he knocks people dead, it’s a totally different thing.”

“Conor ices guys with one punch and that’s a big factor. When you’re watching him and he’s fighting Eddie Alvarez and all of sudden he dings him with that left hand and catches him, rocks him early on. You go ‘holy shit’ and realise that he’s fighting a guy at 155lbs, and Eddie is a big guy, big 155lb-r, big muscular guy. The idea was that he was going to be able to wrestle Conor, he’s going to be able to grab him and grind him out the same way he did with Anthony Pettis? Nope!”

The praise garnered by Conor for his performances has only been rivaled by the plaudits he has gained for his focused and unique approach to the martial arts, with his driven and highly contemplative mindset a key component in his consistent success.

12 December 2015; Conor McGregor celebrates defeating Jose Aldo to win the UFC Featherweight Championship title. UFC 194: Jose Aldo v Conor McGregor, MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, USA. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE (Photo by Sportsfile/Corbis via Getty Images)

At UFC 196, when McGregor took on Rafael dos Anjos’ short-notice replacement Nate Diaz, he came away with a defeat on the world’s biggest stage for the first time in his career. His detractors, like vultures on a fresh carcass, were quick to pounce and bask in what was Conor’s lowest moment in the UFC to date. His reaction to all of this was to shun the spotlight for a while and in his own words, go back to the life that got him this life.

When he emerged, he did so in emphatic fashion, going five rounds with the highly-durable Diaz and coming away with a hard-fought decision victory. Conor had grown in that time away from the limelight and proved to many, but also himself, that he had what it took to take it to the next level, using his time away to improve on every aspect of his own game, in particular, his highly-fluid movement.

Speaking on McGregor’s unique approach to MMA in-octagon, Rogan continued the praise.

“Conor has just got a completely different kind of focus as far as the way he zooms in on targets, and his precision, it’s just speed he’s just dropping it in there with 100% speed. It’s a big part of what he’s doing. He’s not loading up at all.”

“What Conor has is the ability to be perfectly technical in a firefight. So like [Jose] Aldo’s like charging into him, 13 seconds into the fight and he knows how to just slide back and BLAM, drop that left hand on him.”

“His ground game is underrated, he’s very good on the ground, he’s very good defensively. He sweeped Nate Diaz on the ground – in their first fight – people forget that.”

A lot of people, in the wake of McGregor’s loss via submission at the aforementioned UFC 196, poked fun at McGregor’s supposed lack of any, quantifiable ground game after what was pretty much his one moment of weakness on the deck in his entire career, despite the fact he was clearly rocked at the time.

Though he’s no Demian Maia on the deck, perhaps those who detract based only on emotion will listen to the words of the one man who perhaps has more reason than myself, yourself or anyone of us combined out there to judge the skills of any MMA athlete in the game today.

Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena

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Author: Cillian Cunningham

Lead mixed martial arts writer who can be contacted at [email protected]