UFC president Dana White has indicated that McGregor had some foot injuries that were hampering is return, but the coach dismissed the concerns.
“No. No. Nothing really,” said Roddy. “Conor’s leg is perfectly fine. So yeah, no.”
The coach said McGregor resumed light training shortly after the Diaz fight.
“He was back in the gym, moving about two days afterwards,” said Roddy. “In Vegas, he was back moving about. I mean, you see the amount of kicks he threw in the Diaz fight, and he obviously caught a few of them on the knee and just really badly bruised his shin, but there was no serious issue with the foot. I think they found a small fracture from a while back, but it was nothing. The shin itself was really, really bashed up from after the fight. But within a couple of days he was back training, moving around in the gym in Vegas.
“So there’s no issues there. He’s a hundred percent and he was a couple of days after it. But you know yourself, you’re flying on adrenaline during the fight and then as soon as the fight’s over, you start to feel everything and there is nothing worse. Anyone that’s fought or spars around, when you take a few and when you kick a knee with the shin and it goes deep in on the bone, it’s very, very painful.”
Training specifically for Alvarez has of course only just begun.
“Well it’s kind of really only just been confirmed,” said Roddy. “Conor’s just been training the way he always does, but now will be the six weeks out, now would be specific to Alvarez. But I think Conor said it well as well – Alvarez, those kind of fights [are similar] to a lot of people that Conor’s fought already. He kind of fights very similar in the regards that he’s a grinder, he swings for the fences, he comes in, he looks to make a dirty fight and Conor’s fought people like that before.
“So it’s just trying to, from my point of view, it’s just trying to put some shots in there that we think are gonna land, try and walk Alvarez into the shots we want him to walk into, and then obviously avoid the clinches as often as we can and getting off and landing those shots. But six weeks is more than enough time to do that.”
“No disrespect to Alvarez, he is a great fighter and stuff, but he does move similar to a lot of people that Conor has fought. And even when Conor’s fought strikers, they all become that type of fighter. When Conor lands, you become a panicked wrestler, and that’s what’s going to happen.
“Conor’s very clean, and when it comes to a couple of exchanges, Alvarez is going to feel the difference in accuracy and the difference in power and he will start to wrestle and that’s what they all do. So I mean, Conor’s fought the same type of person all his career. Alvarez is a great wrestler, so there will be things we’ll be working on with Conor to make sure that Alvarez can’t keep a hold of him, can’t keep him against the fence, but Conor’s gonna land and I think it’s going to be a matter of time before Alvarez goes to sleep to be totally honest.”
“At the end of the day, Conor’s went down and proved it time and time again. And you can say what you want, but the proof is in the pudding. Who’s done what he’s done? Nobody. But I think you can kind of see in Eddie’s eyes. Like from what I looked at, it looked like he was trying to convince himself more so than anybody else. At the end of the day, like anybody, when you’re in there, I’m sure Eddie’s going to give a resolve, but I just don’t think he has the skillset to beat Conor, to be totally honest.”
“I honestly never really change my prediction because I see what Conor does day in, day out in the gym. I see how clean his striking is and I see how powerful he is. So I always give them the first, the second round. Late in the first, cause Conor needs to work out what the shots are and when the shots are going to be available and when to put them into play. But once he lands, it’s a slippery slope.
“Although I knew Diaz was going to be tougher, but I still said I could see him finishing Diaz in the first or second, and of course we dropped Diaz three times in that first and second. Like, any other person is out. But you watch, it doesn’t take him more than two rounds, and I think two rounds is more than enough time for Conor to land clean. And once he lands clean, then it’s a countdown – how long can the guy stay in there or how lucky can they be to get a hold of him and stall the clock?”
“Alvarez has been dropped a few times and stuff like that. So I mean, that’s not good knowing when you’re going in to fight Conor McGregor. If you’ve been dropped before and you’re going in fighting Conor McGregor, there’s a very, very high chance that you’re going to be dropped again.”
The coach also would like to see McGregor stay at 155, as does head coach John Kavanagh.
“This is where you’re going to see the best Conor McGregor,” said Roddy. “I was talking to somebody else about this the other day, that fighting at welterweight, it’s hard for Conor to maintain his high output for 25 minutes. He’s not a welterweight. And he did it against one of the toughest fighters in the game, against Diaz, but it’s just that it’s not his weight category.
“And then when he moved to 145, he does a lot to get the weight off. He makes the weight perfect, but I don’t know how much he’s recovering in that 24 hours. I can’t imagine him getting back to one hundred percent in that 24 hours when he fights at 145 – and you see what he does at 145.
“But at 155, if you look at some of the fights in Cage Warriors, he just looks so good at that weight. That’s the weight he was supposed to be fighting at. And I think you’ll see the fastest, the fittest and the sharpest in regards to his mind, the sharpest McGregor that you will ever see now at lightweight.”
So will McGregor ever return to featherweight?
“I don’t actually know, to be totally honest,” said Roddy. “You never know. Like I said, Conor controls who he wants to fight and whatnot. The 145 weight category, I mean, I really don’t know. Maybe if Edgar had beat Aldo, then it would have been a more tempting fight. But the fact that he beat Aldo obviously in thirteen seconds, it’s not as tempting to go back down there.
“But who knows, Conor could just turn around and say, ‘look, I want to go back and do this. I’m gonna go back and sort Aldo out’ – and he will and he could do it. Like, he could definitely make that weight. It is hard, it’s difficult, but he could do it. And the last weight cut against Aldo was the best cut he’s ever had to 145. Like, it was the best that I’ve ever seen him.
“The comparison between that and the Mendes (fight), just the difference, it was just a complete – the Aldo weight cut was perfect and he was in great form for the cut and everything. So he can do it and the last one he’s done was perfect, so he could do it again. But who knows. Who knows what’s around the corner. I never know. That’s what’s so exciting about being part of Conor’s team, you never know what’s next. Like, you really don’t.”