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UFC 246: Josh Thomson Shares Out Strategy to Beat Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor has only been defeated in four of his 25 pro bouts to date, and recently former Strikeforce champ Josh Thomson shared out his strategy to beat the decorated fighter.

Due to Conor McGregor’s renowned striking game, and status as one of the biggest names in combat sports, many fighters and analysts have opined on how to beat the former UFC champ. Well, one of the people to most recently do so is former Strikeforce champ, Josh Thomson.

Conor McGregor
Image Credit: UFC / YouTube

Thomson outlines his strategy to beat the “Notorious” one

McGregor is scheduled to make his much discussed, Octagon return against Donald Cerrone. The stars will battle in a welterweight fight that will headline UFC 246, January 18th.

In a recent episode of Thomson’s podcast, the accomplished veteran had this to say, while discussing his keys to defeating McGregor (quotes via Body Lock MMA):

“I would have probably tried to strike on the outside, close the distance, get in on a takedown,” Thomson said. “But after watching him as a fan and not so much as a fighter, I have a different outlook and perspective. I watched him against Nate [Diaz] and a couple of other guys. Him against the fence. I feel like there’s less likeliness of him to do a lot of damage. People have a hard time getting to the fence and that’s what the issue is. But I think if you want to have a chance is to rough him up against the fence. Take away his reach and his range as well as his kicks. Fight him in that clinch.”

“When I watched him against Nate, to me I felt like the easiest way to beat Nate was to press him to the fence. Elbow, clinch, knees, that type of work. That made it easier for me because physically, he is not strong. So when I saw a little bit of the struggles that Conor had against Nate, just the back-and-forth that they had against the fence, I feel that was when you take away his power, his kicks, when you’re close to inside range. Those for me would have been the key points.”

“…Never giving him the space to use his punching and his power as well as his kicks. That would have been my game plan.”

Thomson makes some compelling points here. McGregor is at his best when he’s setting up his booming left with his movement and kicks. So, if you can move him to the fence his ability to use those tools are limited, as Thomson noted.

Of course, as Khabib Nurmagomedov also demonstrated, scoring takedowns can also be an effective way to defeat the heavy-handed fighter.

UFC 246 line-up

Here is the complete line-up for UFC 246, which will be hosted by T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on January 18th.

UFC 246 Main Card 0n ESPN+ PPV (10 p.m. ET):

170 lbs.: Conor McGregor vs. Donald Cerrone
135 lbs.: Holly Holm vs. Raquel Pennington
265 lbs.: Maurice Greene vs. Aleksei Oleinik
115 lbs.: Claudia Gadelha vs. Alexa Grasso
155 lbs.: Diego Ferreira vs. Anthony Pettis

UFC 246 Prelims Card 0n ESPN (8 p.m. ET):

145 lbs.: Maycee Barber vs. Roxanne Modafferi
145 lbs.: Andre Fili vs. Sodiq Yusuff
155 lbs.: Drew Dober vs. Nasrat Haqparast
145 lbs.: Grant Dawson vs. Chas Skelly

UFC 246 Early Prelims Card 0n ESPN+ (6 p.m. ET):

205 lbs.: Aleksa Camur vs. Justin Ledet
125 lbs.: Askar Askarov vs. Tim Elliott
135 lbs.: Brian Kelleher vs. Ode Osbourne
125 lbs.: J.J. Aldrich vs. Sabina Mazo

*Fight card, bout order and the amount of matches subject to change.

Line-up via MMA Mania

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