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09th Dec 2016

One of the UFC’s most promising prospects to work with Ido Portal


Ben Kiely

Movement coaches are some of the most polarising characters in MMA, and perhaps the most high profile and polarising of them all is Ido Portal.

The Israeli became a bit of a laughing stock on the internet when we first saw him encouraging Conor McGregor to dodge, dive, dip, duck and dodge his way around pool noodles, but the chortling started to quiet down after the Notorious rendered the greatest featherweight of all time unconscious in 13 seconds.

When Jose Aldo hit the canvas after running head-first into McGregor’s left hand, all the weird and wonderful things Portal was doing suddenly seemed like they may have actually been working. We knew McGregor was a gifted fighter before he began working with the coach, but could the huge improvements in his overall game have been at least partly attributed to unusual exercises such as this…

Ido Portal fall

…whatever the hell this is…

Ido hand

…and… er… eh. Yeah, we’re not giving you this one, Ido.

When McGregor’s not playing touch-butt with that dork in the park,” Ido’s in Thailand doing something called the “Ido Portal Internship” which according to a Facebook post in 2013 promises “five days of movement, tropical fruits, sun, beach and information”.

Portal’s going to have another extremely talented UFC lightweight taking his internship programme soon. Lando Vannata told MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani that he plans on travelling to Thailand to meet up with Ido after his fight against John Makdessi at UFC 206 on Saturday.

“After this I’m going to Thailand and the Bahamas. I’m going to work with Ido Portal in Thailand for a week.”

The 24-year-old (8-1, 0-1 UFC) has been pegged as one of the future stars to come out of the famed Jackson/WinkelJohn gym in Albuquerque – the home of former UFC champions Jon Jones, Holly Holm and Carlos Condit. He lost his promotional debut to elite lightweight Tony Ferguson at UFC Fight Night 91 via second round D’arce choke.

Vannata came in as an extremely short notice replacement for the injured Michael Cbiesa and turned a lot of heads with his performance against Ferguson, who was riding a seven-fight win-streak and was closing in on a title shot. He more than held his own against El Cucuy and the pair earned the Fight of the Night accolade and $50,000 apiece for the stunning fight.

Vannata Ferguson