Former fighter and current UFC analyst, Kenny Florian, believes that Conor McGregor is changing the MMA landscape with his unique approach to the stand-up game.
“KenFlo” made the claim in a recent interview with Shaheen Al-Shatti of MMAFighting, which was part of a fantastic feature on McGregor’s UFC 194 opponent, Jose Aldo, entitled “The Night We Faced Aldo”.
In Florian’s opinion, McGregor doesn’t get the credit he deserves as a fighter and a trailblazer due to the fact that he has aggravated so many people with his verbose nature.
“So a lot of people say, ‘this Conor guy, he’s all talk; he’s not the real deal. Who has he beaten?’ A lot of people are still blinded by this hate for him”, said Florian. “But the reality is, this guy is an unbelievable fighter”.
“I think we’ll look back on Conor McGregor’s style as a style that will revolutionize MMA striking as we know it. I really believe that. The things he’s doing are phenomenal”.
Of course, the former UFC featherweight and lightweight title contender isn’t alone in this regard. In fact, he keeps some quite esteemed company. Among others, highly-respected Vice:Fightland writer Jack Slack, and UFC welterweight contender Rory MacDonald have both made similar claims.
“The beauty of it[Conor’s style]”, said Slack “is that it isn’t any one discipline, he just plays around and makes eclectic elements work together”.
Aside from his style, Florian also complimented McGregor’s toughness and ability to keep a cool head in the heat of battle. Both of these things, claimed Florian, were highlighted by his performance against Chad Mendes at UFC 189.
“We learned something about him (in the Mendes fight) that we didn’t really know before, that this isn’t a guy who if he runs into trouble against Jose Aldo is going to fold. It’s just not going to happen. He found himself in some bad positions, he stayed extremely calm and just showed a chin from hell. He seemed completely unfazed. It was just like he knew nothing was going to stop him that night. It didn’t matter who it was or what it was”.
The alumnus of The Ultimate Fighter season 1 stopped short of giving a prediction on the outcome of the December 12th showdown, but it sounds very much like he is siding with “The Notorious” one over his former foe.