Conor McGregor’s striking coach Owen Roddy joined Submission Radio recently and gave an insight into exactly how he feels a contest between the UFC’s lightweight champion and the newly-crowned interim strap-holder Tony Ferguson would unfold.
UFC 216 turned into one of the more surprising success stories of the latter half of 2017. Of course, most of the attention was fixated on the compelling interim-lightweight championship encounter between Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee but for the most part, the fights – as a whole – managed to deliver enough action to keep the fans satisfied as we count down the days until November 4’s UFC 217.
We saw records broken, dramatic contests and slick submission wins aplenty but for all the talk surrounding the events of the night itself, the shadow of one Conor McGregor was felt at all times.
In the main event, streaking 155lb contender Tony Ferguson managed to bring his claim to a shot at the undisputed belt beyond any question with his impressively dogged win over his opponent, Kevin Lee.
The fight itself was scrappy and saw a dramatic shift in momentum as the prospect Lee gassed out, but it has to be said that Ferguson’s gameplan going into the fight was a strong one.
A third-round triangle choke was the deciding factor on the night and now, despite talks of a trilogy fight with Nate Diaz and a possible return to the sport of boxing, Ferguson’s argument for his own ‘red-pantie night’ is perhaps the strongest out there.
It’s hard to know exactly what Conor McGregor has planned right now, but in a recent appearance on Submission Radio, his striking coach Owen Roddy broke down exactly why he feels a fight with ‘El Cucuy’ might be a much simpler task for the Irishman than many would have thought.
“His style is, you know, it’s not traditional, it’s a bit unorthodox and stuff, but I just honestly think that Conor’s going to be way too clean for Ferguson,” he stated.
“If Ferguson tries to stand with Conor for an extended period of time it will be lights out, in my opinion.
“You know, he’s tough as well, he’s tough and durable, so he may take a couple of smacks, but at the end of the day Conor’s going to be way too clean and too technical, he won’t get touched.
“That’s my opinion. But yeah, it will be an interesting one and it will be an exciting fight as well because Ferguson does come to fight and he’s aggressive, he goes in, he looks to finish fights, so it will be exciting. But yeah, without a doubt if he wants to stand and bang with Conor it’ll be lights out fairly quick, I think.”
Both UFC 196 and UFC 202 saw McGregor face some serious adversity in the form of the famously tough chin of Stockton’s own Nate Diaz, and though it was Diaz who came away in victory the first time around, Conor’s ability to learn from his shortcomings and bounce back with the win at the second time of asking proved his mettle beyond any doubt.
Roddy, who cornered the two-time UFC champ for both fights, just doesn’t seem to believe that the durability and toughness of Ferguson is on the same level as Diaz’s.
“I think the one unique thing that Diaz has is just that unbelievable chin, and like, I don’t think Ferguson would be able to take the shots that Diaz took. Do you know what I mean?
“I think he would be asleep or the ref would have stepped in and have stopped the fight if Conor lands. Where Diaz, like, Conor was landing all the shots on Diaz as well and all the other stuff that we came up with worked against Diaz, it’s just he kept coming and coming and coming and coming.
“I don’t think Ferguson is as durable as Diaz, so I think we’ll be well able to land the shots. You know, there’s plenty of holes in there in Ferguson’s game and I think we can capitalize and land any shots that we need to land.”
Ferguson might not seem as the most lucrative next step in the path of the famously selective lightweight kingpin but still, I think the fans as a whole just want to see him solidify his status as the divisional champ before he continues with his absolute bonkers ascent and if the UFC have any sense, they’ll do what they can to make sure he does what many consider to be the right thing.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena