“I’ll adopt a different approach for a trilogy with Dustin because those leg kicks are not to be messed with. That calf kick. I’ve never experienced that, and it’s a good one.”
That was Conor McGregor explaining what he thought went wrong at UFC 257, and promising to make the necessary adjustments if he ends up fighting Dustin Poirier again.
If you ask Javier Mendez though, it’s dumbfounding how McGregor was even that unprepared for calf kicks in the first place. The AKA head coach questioned the Irishman’s preparations while breaking down the contest.
“When I saw Dustin start going for the leg kicks, I go, ‘oh my god, Conor’s stance is not made for checking properly, leg kicks like that — especially calf kicks.’ So, I thought that was going to be a major problem,” Mendez told Submission Radio. “And then when he hit Dustin with the good shot and Dustin took it, that’s when I kind of knew, oh boy, things are gonna change. And sure enough, they did.
“It was a great game plan from Dustin to work the leg kicks, calf kicks. And it was a bad judgement on Conor’s part to not be prepared for that. I don’t understand how you cannot be prepared for something like that, when that’s what everyone’s going to,” he said.
“Khabib, I told him, I reminded him every day that ‘Justin’s coming after your legs, Justin’s coming after your legs.’ Every day I was telling him that,” Mendez said about their last training camp against Justin Gaethje. “And you would think that (Conor) would be reminded also because that’s a big weapon. Until fighters learn how to deal with it, it’s gonna be a big weapon, guys, big weapon.”
According to the American Kickboxing Academy head, McGregor was not only unprepared, his abilities also seemed to have “regressed” in recent years.
“He would’ve got smashed. Khabib’s gotten better,” Mendez said when asked about a potential Khabib-McGregor rematch. “He would’ve gotten smashed, straight up. Khabib’s better. He’s better than he was when they fought two years ago. Conor didn’t appear to be better. He’s regressed a little bit. Khabib’s gotten way better. He would have gotten smashed.”
It’s worth noting that prior to UFC 257, analysts like Dan Hardy also predicted that Poirier will be looking to land calf kicks to take advantage of how McGregor puts all his weight on his lead leg.
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