Conor McGregor’s grappling skills aren’t what the 31-year-old has relied most upon throughout his nearly 12-year professional fighting career, but training partner and 2-0 Bellator prospect Dillon Danis, who’s himself a Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt, believes McGregor’s ground game headed into UFC 246 is severely underrated.
“Conor’s always been prepared, man,” Danis told “The Schmo” on YouTube. “Conor’s been one of the best jiu-jitsu guys that I’ve ever rolled with, like MMA-wise, since I started training with him. His jiu-jitsu is on another level, and it always has been.”
Danis has trained with McGregor since 2016. In 2017, McGregor went so far as to refer to the 26-year-old fighter as his protege, so it would seem this particular BJJ expert’s opinion on McGregor would need to be taken with a grain of salt.
Still, McGregor’s ground game has noticeably improved over the last few years since bringing Danis into the mix, so maybe the upstart MMA fighter is truly onto something when he suggests McGregor is underrated in that department.
McGregor Returns at UFC 246 After Long Hiatus
McGregor faces Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 246 on Jan. 18 in Las Vegas. It will be McGregor’s first time back in action since tapping out in the fourth round against UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in October 2018.
While Cerrone is a popular contender, he isn’t nearly considered to be the same kind of threat as Nurmagomedov. Regardless, the 36-year-old is a well-rounded fighter who most people believe would benefit from taking McGregor to the ground when the two go toe-to-toe later this month.
But Danis seems to believe things would be fine down there for McGregor should the two action fighters head to the mat.
“I think people just underestimate him for some reason, but if it does go to the ground, they’ll see,” Danis said. “They’ll see how good he is.”
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McGregor’s UFC Ground Game Struggles
That wasn’t the case in McGregor’s last fight.
Against Nurmagomedov at UFC 246, it was clear throughout the majority of the contest that McGregor’s only real hope in defeating Nurmagomedov was to stay on his feet. However, the expert grappler Nurmagomedov was able to have his way for most of the fight just as he had done the same in virtually every other fight of the Russian’s career.
Overall, McGregor is 21-4 in his MMA career with all four losses coming via submission. That includes the only two UFC losses he’s suffered since debuting with the company back in 2013 with a 67-second obliteration of Marcus Brimage in Sweden.
In addition to suffering the defeat to Nurmagomedov, McGregor also lost via submission to Nate Diaz in 2016 at UFC 196. McGregor had originally been scheduled to face Rafael Dos Anjos for the UFC lightweight title, but Dos Anjos pulled out of the contest due to injury.
Diaz stepped in on 11 days’ notice to pull off the shocker in what turned out to be McGregor’s first fight in the welterweight division.
But McGregor rebounded to defeat Diaz in the rematch via majority decision at UFC 202 just a few months later. To date, the Diaz fights are McGregor’s only two appearances in the UFC’s 170-pound welterweight division.
McGregor will make a third against Cerrone at UFC 246 on Jan. 18.