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27th Sep 2016

Eddie Alvarez has a simple way to beat Conor McGregor that’s sure to frustrate fans

How do you solve a problem like McGregor?

Ben Kiely

Undisputed UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez may have already revealed his gameplan for Conor McGregor to the world.

Every single one of McGregor’s UFC opponents went into the Octagon believing they could beat him, but so far only Nate Diaz has managed to achieve that feat, and even that loss was avenged by the Notorious.

While the UFC featherweight champion is clearly a highly-skilled martial artist, there is one weapon that sets him apart from the rest of the roster – that devastating left hand. Everything he does inside the cage (and his mental warfare outside of it) is geared towards setting up that monstrous coup de grace.

Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes and Dustin Poirier are just a few of the fighters who’ve fallen victim to that patented Celtic Cross, but Eddie Alvarez believes he knows a way to negate it.

Cast your minds back to February, a relatively short timeframe for in history, but it is an absolute aeon in MMA. Back then McGregor was scheduled to take on the then-155lb king Rafael dos Anjos for the belt, while current champion Alvarez was coming off an impressive win over Anthony Pettis.

Alvarez appeared on The MMA Hour and predicted Dos Anjos would defeat McGregor if he implemented a ground-game-heavy gameplan. He reckoned that taking striking out of the equation was the key to victory over the Notorious.

“There’s a simple way to win against this guy and nobody seems to be doing it. It’s really frustrating to watch.”

“Yes (take him down)! I feel like he’ll look foolish. I honestly feel it could be an embarrassment. It could be like everyone in the crowd going, ‘Wow, that was it? Why didn’t anybody else do that?’ It could be that surprising to people. That’s how I feel. We just haven’t seen him there.”

We know what you’re thinking, there is a flaw with Alvarez’s theory.


Elite wrestler Chad Mendes tried this tactic against the Notorious at UFC 189 and although he had some success, he eventually lost the fight after McGregor escaped a submission attempt and found home with that trusty left hand. Alvarez argues that if late-replacement Mendes had a full camp, the outcome may have been different.

“Let’s talk about that for one second. Mendes is primarily a wrestler, correct? Primarily a wrestler. In order to implement a wrestling attack, it takes a ton of energy and a ton of conditioning and energy. You can’t roll off the couch and implement a wrestling attack against a guy. It’s just not going to happen. You need to be conditioned. You need to be in shape.”

“If you’re a wrestler and you’re rolling off the couch and going to fight, essentially, you have no weapons. You have none. Your only weapon wrestling is no good because you’re not conditioned.”

Of course, Dos Anjos vs McGregor was the lightweight title fight that got away as the Brazilian was forced to pull out of the scrap with injury. However, McGregor will finally get his shot at the 155 lb belt when he takes on Alvarez in UFC 205’s headliner in November.