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Conor McGregor: Aldo’s Kryptonite or His Latest Victim?

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As UFC 194 approaches the UFC will focus its promotional campaign on the ‘Notorious’ Conor McGregor but the two men in the main event will be unfazed by it all.

Jose Aldo has been the only featherweight champion the UFC has ever known and his reign over the division has been as quiet as its been destructive. A stark contrast from his interim title wielding counter-part.

Outside of the octagon these two champions couldn’t be any more different. One reserved and gracious, the ultimate sportsman. The other braggadocious and supremely confident. The differences are many but what will ultimately decide the outcome of this fight are the similarities.

If you sit down and watch both fighters over the past 3 years you’d be surprised to see that both men are strangely similar in the octagon. Both men use their powerful kicking ability to keep their opponents at bay and establish range. Conor does so with his push kick, while Aldo uses his thunderous outer leg kick. Both fighters also strike from odd angles, never throwing punches straight ahead. Aldo more of the counterpuncher, stepping to his right to deliver 3 punch combos when his opponents become over-aggressive. Conor the aggressor, he prefers to change levels to strike his opponents while they retreat.

Neither fighter allows their opponents to dictate the pace of the fight. Their pace in the octagon can be best described as slow and methodical. Never rushing or panicking when in trouble; always calmly awaiting their chance to end the fight. So far each of their UFC opponents have made a mistake but on December 12th they will look across the cage into a mirror image.

“To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.”
Sun Tzu

Conor McGregor’s similarities to Aldo may be his greatest weapon against the champion. Many focus on his unorthodox stance, which leaves him prone to leg kicks, but his lead leg is more often that not his right. Aldo has made a career of taking away the lead leg of orthodox fighters, not southpaws. Fighters often switch into a southpaw stance to stop Aldo’s effectiveness. Conor is a natural southpaw which will give him a split second more time to adjust to those leg kicks. It also allows him to put his body behind his strait left hands. Conor also holds the power and reach advantage over Aldo.

These pieces should make Conor the perfect man to defeat Jose Aldo but one thing that can’t be measured is heart. Aldo has always displayed the heart of a champion and most of his knockouts have come when his back is against the wall. His respect for MMA and his opponent is what separates Aldo from the other fighters in his division. He treats every opponent like the deadliest man on the planet and fights knowing that his job is to use his skills to neutralize theirs.

“In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them…. I destroy them.”
Orson Scott Card

As the fight approaches both fighters will stay true to form. Aldo will be stoic and calm, while McGregor trash talks everyone in front of him. This is all part of the chess match these two players are waging. Each step calculated, each word predetermined. Waiting to see which side of the mirror blinks first.



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