The lead up to a bout between two of combat sports biggest stars is inevitably going to involve a lot of posturing. We’ve seen it time and time again, but things have gone into overdrive in the age of social media, allowing for fans to see and analyse even the smallest changes in an athlete’s body or training regime. Even people who spend very little time critically analysing the boxing super fight between UFC lightweight Conor McGregor and boxing veteran Floyd Mayweather have probably seen a few updates on both athletes a handful of times across social media.
With the world press tour over and done with, we’re now starting to hear more and more from both fight camps. Conor McGregor’s recently had a bust up with two of his training partners, Chris van Heerden and Paulie Malignaggi over allegedly staged or edited social media posts depicting him performing better than expected against them, while Mayweather has shown videos of himself flexing with a six pack at forty years of age.
McGregor has traditionally looked pretty sullen coming up to fights, with dark sunken eyes being a staple of his weigh in physique. He would look absolutely emaciated trying to make featherweight and has looked much healthier since making the move to lightweight. For his two bouts with lightweight favourite Nate Diaz, McGregor looked to be completely solid and fit, having not had to lose any weight to make the 170 pound cut off. The comparison between the two versions of McGregor, the featherweight and lightweight, is staggering. People used to compare McGregor to the old man from Home Alone, that’s how bad he looked when he would cut weight.
“He’s a small man. He’s in good shape, he’s right, the little bastard does look good for 40. He does look alright for a 40-year-old,” McGregor said in an interview in late July. “Floyd is definitely not gonna take the shots, the legs, the body, the stability and the core, it doesn’t support him against this animal”
And what of the animal McGregor believes himself to be? Well, he’s been posting up some shots of himself looking like an absolute tank, having put on a bunch of size around his torso and arms. McGregor’s nutrition expert Sean Lockhart told MMAJunkie that he believes “speed is key.”
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“I want to make sure the fighter is lower in weight, the cut is not as big and the reload is not as much,” said Lockhart.
“For an MMA fighter to reload, they’ll gain 15, 18 pounds, which gives them that advantage (on fight night)… Boxing, I want him actually walking in close to weight the week of the fight. Walking in, weighing in and maybe gaining a couple pounds after that.”