What a fight!
Reflecting on Saturday’s main event of UFC 246, here are a few takeaways from a martial artist’s perspective. Yes, it was an awesome TKO, but remember, martial arts are much more about life than they are about fighting.
Identify people who inspire you. It’s impossible not to be inspired by both McGregor and Cerrone. Inside the ring, they are both dynamic fighters. Outside of the ring, Cowboy clearly lives life to the fullest, whether it's on his ranch, waterskiing, cave diving, etc. McGregor has a net worth in excess of $100M, and he has just put in the mat time, training, and nutrition to compete and win at the highest athletic level.
Character. There is a great quote: “Character is much easier kept than recovered.“ If you have followed the antics of McGregor outside of the ring over the past couple of years, you know he has fallen far from grace. In the lead up to this fight, McGregor worked hard at rebuilding his character.
Funakoshi wrote: First know yourself, then know others.” McGregor’s fight IQ is off the charts. His post-fight interview detailed how he expected Cerrone to respond to his initial attack based on past specific fights. McGregor developed an effective strategy to counter it. The strategy, while seemingly simple, was brilliant.
Turn your perceived weakness into a strength. Cerrone is 2” taller than McGregor. McGregor used this height difference, along with the knowledge of how Cerrone likes to move, to execute brutal shoulder strikes, driving the top of his shoulder into Cowboy's face.
Shoulder strikes in the clinch can be an effective weapon! I’ve never seen strikes like this before in an MMA fight, and I can’t think of any kata whose bunkai has this move. It was a learning. 40 seconds!!! What a fight!