The famed SBG striking coach Owen Roddy has given an insight into what Team McGregor’s preparation for Khabib will amount to if the fight goes ahead.
Things do seem to be trending in the right direction for the heavily-rumoured matchup between the unbeaten Khabib Nurmagomedov and the champ who never lost his belt, Conor McGregor.
Even in the last few weeks, there has been little tidbits of info from both sides that would suggest that we’re going to see this fight before the year is out – with John Kavanagh and Owen Roddy adding fuel to that fire with their own belief that it will go ahead.
Roddy spoke to MMAJunkie recently and broke down the steps he and his team would take to prepare Conor for Khabib if the fight did, in fact, get signed and sealed.
“We all sit down, and we look at where the holes are and what we can do to exploit the opponent. Khabib brings a lot of problems, as do all fighters. But he’s not bulletproof. It’s not an impossible code to crack.
“You just have to see where those openings are and put the shots in. So that would be my role. Obviously, we would be bringing in a wrestling coach, and John would be working the overall game and jiu-jitsu game.
“It’s another day at the office. It’s great fun fighting these different opponents that bring different threats. It’s always exciting to try to come up with a game plan to beat them, and that’s what we do. We try stuff. If it works, we keep it. If it doesn’t work, we get rid of it.
“If the people kick up enough fuss and get behind that fight, I think it will happen. Conor will fight the person that brings the biggest draw. That’s the way he’s always fought. If it is Khabib, that’s the next fight. But I don’t know yet.
Khabib’s striking has been pointed to as an Achille’s Heel of sorts for some time now but in the opinion of the SBG man Roddy, his abilities on the feet – though not comparable to Conor’s – are still not to be underestimated.
Khabib’s striking, it’s good. But he’s definitely not at the level of striking that Conor’s at. Nobody is. Conor’s by far the best striker in MMA, in my opinion.”
“There are always openings, whether you’re a wrestler or a kickboxer or jiu-jitsu guy. The fight always starts standing, so there’s always opportunities to land strikes, and everybody leaves openings. I’m sure we can land shots on Khabib – most definitely.”
Who knows when or even if this potentially huge fight will come together but with an eye on McGregor’s upcoming return to the courtroom next month, do not be surprised to see things resolve themselves in the future of the sport’s biggest star very soon.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena