“The only fighter in UFC history to concurrently hold titles in two divisions, Conor McGregor, possesses one-punch knockout power. 18 of his 21 career wins have been by way of knockout. McGregor ended former featherweight champion Jose Aldo‘s decade-long winning streak in just 13 seconds in the UFC 194 main event in December 2015. When he faced Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title at UFC 205 in November, McGregor dominated and finished the 155-pound titleholder. His punching accuracy is second to none in MMA. He’s a precision striker. And when he lands clean, his opponents often fall to the canvas.”
— Conor McGregor explains his punching power like only he can*
The Science: EXPLOSIVENESS: STRENGTH X SPEED
In striking combat sports there are rare fighters who seem to have been born with dynamite in their hands. Obviously Mike Tyson comes to mind (Kid Dynamite), and current boxing champions Gennady Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez also seem to have that special explosive ingredient in their punching.
Right now, Mixed Martial Arts is home to the world’s top combat athlete, UFC’s “Notorious” Conor McGregor. McGregor is notorious not only for his bombastic out-of-the-cage behavior, but also for his shocking punching power. His opponents go into fights knowing McGregor is a knockout artist, but still seem to be genuinely shocked by the power with which ‘The Notorious’ lands that first clean shot.
Most combat sport history experts, fighters, and fans alike thought that punching power was almost completely a born-with-it quality. That is true to some extent. Power (Force x Distance/ Time) is dependent on the fighter’s neural integration, and some people are born more naturally neurally integrated than others. However, neural integration is a quality which is highly trainable with a barbell.
To develop McGregor-esque punching power, a fighter should first work on his maximum strength since MS is the foundation of maximum force production and and force is a variable of power (F x D/T = P). MS can only be developed maximally and optimally by heavy Squats, Presses, and Deadlifts with a Barbell.
After sufficient levels of MS/force development ability has been developed, fighters can then add explosive training into their regimen to begin to transmute MS gains in explosive strength. Explosive Squatting, Deadlifting, Bench Pressing and Standing Pressing are very effective means of developing explosive strength. The intensity (weight on the bar, % of 1 RM) must be moderate and reps-per-set kept low to ensure that fatigue does not diminish power when performing all reps for explosive strength.
When a fight is coming up, a fighter can even go onto switching his explosive training to reactive strength training, by keeping the exercises, sets and reps the same but lowering the intensity even more, so that the reps can be done with a drop-catch-and reverse action. The Presses and Squats are reflexive, which greatly peaks Starting Strength, that is what is finally displayed in the form of KO in the power ring or cage on Fight Night.
So, if you’re a fighter and weren’t born with ‘Notorious’ natural power, don’t fret. You just need a scientific barbell strategy and some time in the weight room.
*For quoted article, please visit: MMAWEEKLY|HOME
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