Famed Tristar head-coach Firas Zahabi has stated his belief that Conor McGregor’s conditioning won’t be as big of an issue at lightweight.
It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time when the idea of seeing McGregor compete at 155lb seemed like a crazy notion.
Making a name for himself within the featherweight ranks, Conor didn’t exactly see his limits tested against the smaller men of the 145lb division. The now-obvious holes found in his endurance levels weren’t given the opportunity to be exposed as he dispatched featherweight after featherweight before stealing away the title from José Aldo at UFC 194.
Since then, we’ve seen him gas on three separate occasions as a result of his high-output and explosive movement, twice at welterweight and once in a boxing matchup.
Zahabi spoke during a recent live Q&A and explained his belief that Conor’s cardio will be helped by fighting in his more natural weight-class, 155lbs.
“I don’t think Conor McGregor will ever cut to 145lbs ever again. There are only so many times you can cut that deep. He makes sense at 155lbs. He’s tall, he’s lanky, he’s got the reach, the speed. He can handle himself at 155lbs.
“The size won’t bother him. He has the power, the speed, the movement, the reach, plus it’s going to be so much easier for him to go into the later rounds if he doesn’t have to cut to 145lbs.
The last time McGregor made the cut to the featherweight limit was for UFC 194 back in December of 2015 and, of course, the toll that cut was taking on his body was evident simply by looking at him during the event’s weigh-ins.
Since then, he has been able to allow his body to adjust to his position as a more natural 155lb-r and because of that, Zahabi believes he will bring the best out of his stamina levels.
“Only cutting to 155lbs will help him maintain more longevity in a fight. For those of you who don’t know – cutting weight the night before a fight can really affect your reflexes and speed and your endurance – especially your stamina.
“We’ve seen McGregor get tired in the past. And no, it wasn’t in a 145lb fight, I get that, but still, not cutting to 145lb at all anymore is going to help his stamina.”
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena