How hard does Conor McGregor hit? Floyd Mayweather, Nate Diaz, Dustin Poirier and others reveal what it’s like taking a punch from UFC star
Conor McGregor is undeniably one of the best strikers in mixed martial arts and his stunning left hand has earned him millions through the years.
‘Notorious’ has rendered many opponents unconscious in the UFC and that even led to a boxing showdown with legendary five-weight world champion Floyd Mayweather in 2017.
He even once declared: “When I swing that left hook, the human skull cannot take it.”
Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone can certainly attest to that as he lasted just 40 seconds before being sent to the hospital in January 2020 and then found himself subsequently medically suspended for months.
However, it was the Irishman, who was left bruised and battered in his next outing when Dustin Poirier knocked him out a year later. Avenging that loss will be on his mind next as he prepares for their rematch at UFC 264.
Welterweight punch power
Prior to UFC 205 in 2016 at Madison Square Garden, the company set up a machine to determine punching power for fans to engage with.
Quite simply, the force of the punch would be measured and then fans could record their score and compare where they ended up.
Former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley came in at number one on the list, but he was followed closely by McGregor.
The Irishman reportedly hits harder than former 170lbs title contender Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson and harder than former foe Alvarez.
As mentioned above, McGregor took on Mayweather in a money-spinning match in August 2017.
In fact, the Irishman is adamant they will meet again and even promised Mike Tyson he would win the much anticipated rematch. But ‘Money’ was not overawed by the power he felt in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas four years ago.
“As far as his punching power – he’s solid,” Mayweather said in a press conference after the pay-per-view main event.
“I’ve felt it before, so that’s why I kept coming straight ahead. Obviously, it wasn’t the type of power to say, ‘I can’t come forward.’ Because if it were that type of power, I wouldn’t have come forward.”
In order to prepare for the Mayweather fight, the Irishman enlisted the help of Malignaggi to come in as a sparring partner.
But the ‘Magic Man’ was left seething after footage of him being knocked down was leaked to the press before the fight.
It’s fair to say the pair will never see eye-to-eye from here on out, with Malignaggi delivering a withering verdict on the famed power.
He said on the Big Brown Breakdown: “Do you want to know if he hits hard? Yeah, I mean, he’s not a weak puncher. I’ll say that.
“People are dying for me to say, ‘Oh he hits hard!’ Oh, his big left hand.’ Listen, if Conor hits you, you’re going to feel it. He’s a grown man.
“I’d say he’s an above average puncher. If he lands a shot with 10 oz gloves, it will probably get your attention. Is it ‘Oh my God power’? No, ‘Oh my God power’ is very rare.
“I’ve sparred thousands of rounds in my life, I’ve sparred hundreds of people in my life … the amount people that I sparred that had ‘Oh my God power is probably only a handful.
“More than anything he’s accurate and I think that’s what plays into the success he has with his punches. Nothing was like overwhelmingly powerful. I mean, he’s got power. He’s more accurate I’d say than anything.”
The Stockton-native shocked the world when he forced McGregor to tap at UFC 196 in 2016.
Despite being battered, bloodied and dominated for the first round, Diaz put his foot on the gas and tired the Irishman out.
He was left with a series of nasty cuts above his right eye, although he insisted this was not down to McGregor’s power.
“I had just fought in December and I had a cut [above my eye] from that Michael Johnson fight,” he told UFC on FOX. “It pretty much split right open.
“I didn’t really feel it at the time but I looked back on the fight and thought ‘Oh f***’. It was a real nice uppercut.
“My eye got blurry for a minute. In between rounds, they wiped it with ice. Then, in the second round, the ice water and blood came into my eyes and I couldn’t see s***.”
McGregor made UFC history by becoming the first fighter to ever hold two belts simultaneously when he knocked out Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205.
After the fight, a visibly dazed and confused Alvarez revealed it was the speed and accuracy of ‘The Notorious’ which proved insurmountable.
“It was more his speed (that I was surprised by),” Alvarez told reporters after the fight.
“I got dropped a couple of times, the first time I got dropped I remember being on my butt and thinking, ‘Wow, that was quick. Whatever that was it was fast’.
“I’ve been there plenty of times in my career where I get dropped. ‘I don’t panic; I keep my composure and get back up.
“His speed and timing were very good; you could tell he’s got years of boxing behind him.”
When asked by a fan on Twitter in 2019 who was the hardest puncher he has ever faced, former UFC lightweight interim title holder Poirier had one clear answer.
They fought in 2014, when ‘The Diamond’ lost but he got his own back six years later.
Owen Roddy (Striking Coach)
Roddy has worked with McGregor since he started training MMA way back in 2007.
And the Straight Blast Gym coach feels as though McGregor’s power is more befitting of a far bigger man.
Roddy said: “He has really long arms and he uses them very well to keep people at bay. He also has very fast twitch fibres in his muscles.
“Conor has a unique style. A wide stance is not common in boxing but it is in combat.
“Conor is like a sprinter. He is fast and explosive, but it is hard to maintain that for five rounds.
“Conor often doesn’t need to last that long because of his habit of putting people to sleep.
“He has unbelievable power. When I used to spar with him, almost every punch felt like it was from a man twice his size.”
McGregor claimed the featherweight title in 2015 when he stopped Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds at UFC 194.
It took fans several replays to realise what had happened, given the speed and timing of the counter left hook thrown by the Irishman.
In fact, the UFC even released never-before-seen footage of the punch from a different angle so as to highlight the incredible speed.
Despite being left out cold on the canvas, Aldo was not impressed by the solitary punch which ended his decade-long reign at the top.
“He has a good punch, but he cannot say that he is the biggest puncher, and the MMA gloves are tiny. They are four ounces.”
Firas Zahabi (Georges St-Pierre’s coach)
A super-fight with former welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre has long been touted given McGregor’s ability and desire to fight across a multitude of weight classes.
Although his coach Zahabi was confident of victory for ‘Rush’, he acknowledged the tremendous power McGregor has.
“He’s got the touch of death in his hands,” he told The Express “He knows what he’s doing; he’s highly intelligent, highly captivated, he’s extremely dangerous.
“And I don’t think he fears anybody. So I think him and Georges would be a phenomenal fight.”