Conor McGregor hadn’t fought in over a year before stepping into the octagon with Dustin Poirier last month but still arrived in Abu Dhabi in magnificent shape.
The 32-year-old has never missed a weight-cut in his career and is known for keeping himself in top condition year-round, having developed his own training method called McGregor Fast.
Although UFC 257 ultimately ended in defeat for The Notorious as he struggled to deal with Poirier’s leg kicks and succumbed to a second-round knockout, it’s still worth athletes taking the time to learn some lessons from how McGregor conditioned himself so professionally for the fight.
According to Colin Byrne, McGregor’s strength and conditioning coach, the key to the Irishman’s impeccable fitness is consistency over a number of years.
Byrne told the Mirror : "His stats are the best they've ever been, that's no word of a lie and the reason for that is consistency.
"After the Cowboy fight he wanted a season of fights but that didn't happen, but he didn't stop training so myself and Julian [Dalby] have been with him all year ready to go. When we got a fight we just ramped it up a bit, but he was always ticking over and building on his last training camp.
"The problem in MMA is that people have a fight, they stop, they do nothing, then they get back in for eight or 12 weeks, get super fit then get super unfit. It's not good for them but it also doesn't lend itself to building on their previous training.
"With Conor, we built on the foundations; people are saying he looks different body-wise, and that's because we've been at it for five years now.
"We haven't trained for an aesthetic, he just looks like that from training because he's training constantly and consistently."
McGregor’s diet is strictly overseen by his nutritionist Tristan Kenedy, who observes nearly every workout and constantly takes data to adjust his fighter’s meal plan as needed.
Kennedy told ESPN : "His diet consists of lean sources of protein: chicken, fish, salmon, beef, eggs. Good complex carbohydrates. Good micro elements; your herbs, basil, oregano. All these things are incorporated into the diet as a whole.
"We have a great balanced diet. From multiple protein sources, multiple carbohydrate sources of wholesome foods. And that's the key.
"I hear people these days, they're focused on one food or two or three foods. The key is to get nutrients from all foods. And that's what we incorporate and that's what we do."