Conor McGregor & SBG
Fightland Tells the Story of McGregor and the Development of SBG
As is now customary whenever Conor McGregor is scheduled to grace the Octagon, this past two weeks has been a flurry of media excitement; articles, soundbites and video clips abound predicting, hyping and speculating on what the SBG Irishman will do next. Amongst the coverage of the ever-present press conference trash-talk, others try to break down what it is that makes McGregor the fighter he is. The opinion articles from fights past that stated McGregor was all talk have been replaced by pieces seeking to explain his success. Many point to McGregor’s movement training as what makes him so special – some mock, some are intrigued and some applaud it. But to focus on it alone is to miss the entire evolution that has got SBG, and Conor McGregor, to this point.
If you haven’t already, be sure to read the Fightland article “Conor McGregor and the Origin of the Perfect Knockout”. Unlike others that directly attribute McGregor’s thirteen second knock out to his movement drills on the beaches of LA, the article traces the story back from McGregor, to his coach John Kavanagh, to SBG’s founder Matt Thornton, and even his coaches and inspirations before him. The uniqueness of Conor McGregor lies not just his own natural abilities, but, as the article states, in the ability to cultivate his style in an environment like no other. In John Kavanagh, McGregor found a coach with a more open mind and a willingness to try out, and test for effectiveness, different approaches and techniques in a way that traditional martial arts schools don’t allow for. It is an approach developed by Matt Thornton, originally taken from Jeet Kune Do and made evident through BJJ. Indeed, Conor McGregor encapsulates Bruce Lee’s advice to “absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is uniquely your own.”
Matt Thornton’s approach, and SBG’s methodology, focuses on the development of martial arts fundamentals; that which is most important. Beyond that, athletes are able to build their own style based on their own experimentation. McGregor is the ultimate example of this – over a decade of training and experimenting to find an approach that perfectly accentuates his own movement and become UFC champion. More exciting than the trash-talk and name-calling that has made up the bulk of this week’s news, is that regardless of Saturday’s result, one can’t help but think this is only the beginning for McGregor and SBG…