Top MMA coach on "the blueprint for beating Conor McGregor"
Firas Zahabi thinks fighters have worked out how to beat Conor McGregor.
The Tristar head coach was asked during a recent question and answer session who he would expect to come out on top in a rematch between McGregor and current UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway and he revealed that he'd anticipate a different outcome this time around.
Holloway has enjoyed a remarkable 13-fight win streak since his 2013 unanimous decision defeat to 'The Notorious'.
And Zahabi, who is one of the most respected coaches in mixed martial arts, has given his take on how a second meeting between Holloway and McGregor would play out.
"If I had to pick Max Holloway vs. McGregor today, I would pick Max Holloway," Zahabi said.
"When they fought the first time, for those of you who don't know, McGregor won an easy three rounds. McGregor actually outstruck Holloway in the first two rounds and then in the third round, he outgrappled Holloway. In the second or third round, McGregor tore his ACL and decided to go heavy on the grappling and he even showed that he could outgrapple Holloway but that happened a long time ago.
"I think Holloway has grown leaps and bounds since then. In my opinion, Holloway would outpunch him, outwork him. He would do very much what Diaz did, but more.
"I think McGregor got away with a lot of stuff, like the leg kicks against Diaz, but I don’t think he’ll have that against Holloway.
"Holloway has the same type of output as Diaz, the same kind of chin as Diaz. He’s more athletic than Diaz, he has more variety than Diaz in his attacks, he has more kicking, kneeing and elbowing, and his chin is just phenomenal. So I really think he would take it in the later rounds.
"I think the blueprint for beating McGregor is more well understood by the roster and I think if they fought at 145lbs or 155lbs, I really like Max Holloway now."
It's unlikely that McGregor would be willing to make the trip back to featherweight but Holloway has repeatedly toyed with the idea of moving up to lightweight.
There would be a healthy appetite for a rematch among fight fans and Zahabi, who has guided the MMA careers of Georges St-Pierre and Rory MacDonald, would give Holloway a 60-40 advantage over the Irishman.
"I like McGregor early, round one or round two, but after that, three, four, five, I think that’s going to belong to Holloway," Zahabi added.
"Even one of the first two rounds could belong to Holloway. I really think Holloway now is in his prime, and it’s going to be very, very difficult to beat him."