UFC: Conor McGregor reflects on tragic passing of Joao Carvalho

Conor McGregor. Photo / Getty Images
Conor McGregor. Photo / Getty Images

Conor McGregor may seem like a man prepared for anything in the world of mixed martial arts, but that wasn't the case on October 9, 2015.

In an interview with Men's Health (www.menshealth.co.uk), The Irishman has discussed the moment he witnessed firsthand the true extent of the dangers of the profession he has dedicated his life to.

McGregor sat ringside at Dublin's National Stadium as Charlie Ward, a team-mate from his Straight Blast Gym in Ireland, defeated Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho via third-round technical knockout.

The 28-year-old was rushed to Beaumont Hospital 20 minutes after the contest having suffered significant head trauma following a sustained period of 'ground and pound.' 48 hours later he was dead.

Speaking in the September issue of the magazine, McGregor was asked how he had been affected by the tragic events of a night that shocked the MMA world.

'How do I feel?' he replied. 'How would you feel?'

'It's f***** up,' he says, finally. 'I wasn't just watching that fight. I helped train a guy to kill someone, and then someone wound up dying.

'This is a f****** dangerous game. People call it a sport, but it's fighting. I'm just making sure it ain't me. And that's f***** up.'

'Damn,' he adds after a few minutes silence. 'I still can't believe that kid is dead.'

The UFC featherweight champion has decided to continue his life inside the octagon, in the hope that Carvalho's passing will have acted as a wake up call to referees the world over.

As he looks ahead to the toughest challenge of his career, the highly anticipated rematch with Nate Diaz at UFC 202 on August 20, the 28-year-old believes it is not only his 'notorious' power, but also his unique movement that sets him apart.

'People are so caught in a routine, doing the same things over and over,' he says. 'I want to be an expert in different fighting styles, new training methods, new ways of thinking.'

For the past few years McGregor has been working with Israeli movement specialist Ido Portal in an effort to diversify his fighting style.

Together they have adopted an alternative approach to MMA training, combining such things as complex gymnastic sequences, drills that mimic the movements of animals and numerous balletic exercises centered around a bamboo stick.

'I've learned new footwork patterns that are very unusual,' said the Dubliner.

'I've learned how to find a lower centre of gravity and I've found more angles to throw shots. In a bout, I'm not just fighting another man. I'm dealing with another man and the ground. I want to understand how the ground can be my friend.'

One thing is clear, his first UFC defeat to Diaz at UFC 196 has not dampened his confidence in the slightest. 'I want this rematch so bad,' he says. 'I'll be better prepared this time. You can count on that.'

- Daily Mail

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