Originally Posted by Helmut Zemo
It's tough to predict things like this in such a high variant sport like MMA. If you have the education in math there are other sports like basketball where you can predict a lot of things due to the predictive tools and various reliable metrics for it, but MMA is completely different. It's also why I don't get into the whole betting/beating Vegas side of MMA. I mean you can make your bets and all that and talk a lot of crap if you get some things right, but those same people are as quiet as a church mouse when they're wrong and never bring them up, lol.
With that said though, I will say that Weidman (who I've followed for pretty much his whole MMA career) and Dillashaw are two fighters I thought would be future champs. Dillashaw more so since his improvements from a couple years ago and Weidman is just a guy early on that a lot of people saw huge talent in, just picked things up extraordinarily quick, had some high IQ/craft for someone who never was in a striking based sport, his understanding of his strengths and positioning, the margin of victory in his fights even in bad conditions, his toughness/heart, ringcraft, really all the intangibles/fundamentals plus ability to integrate his various skills, and his grappling talent which many, including myself, calling him a prodigy in. Pettis in the UFC I called as well but that was a fairly popular opinion, I think. I've had quite a few bad calls so I'm hardly a scout or something, just happy I called those two.
As for McGregor, the most impressive thing about him is that he can fight moving forward or back and transition effortlessly between offence and defence. He has great posture, a solid stance, and very sound positioning. He can lead and play the pressure fighter role or if the guy is coming forward to him like Brimage, especially recklessly (and I think Brandao will), he has great counters to lure you into punches and elbows. That's very rare in MMA. He's already one of the most fundamentally sound strikers in MMA. Imo, he's arguably already a Top-3 striker and boxer in the FW division (Aldo and Swanson being the only 2 I'd comfortably place above him for the time being). I don't like all the kicks he's throwing now though, especially against Holloway.
His grappling is very much a work in progress but he's been improving; he out-grappled Holloway handily with a torn ACL. From his pre-UFC fights he has a tendency to take more risks on the ground to finish a fight that puts him in bad positions (almost night and day from his striking in a fight or two, but he really fights out of those positions and is strong in scramble situations). He doesn't have a tight or any sort of threatening top game and sometimes he still tries to work from there which I think he just shouldn't (like against Brandao if he gets him on his back).
I think at this point he'd lose to guys like Mendes and Edgar rather clearly. He would have trouble with guys who have grappling offence on that level and he has a tendency for his TDD (outside his great footwork and control of distance) to let guys establish grips for a single, which would be bad against guys like that. For his rather diverse striking style he could do a better job at grabbing underhooks early and pivoting away before the other guy gets their hips deep/low enough to force him to sprawl, or he could learn to (before the guy gets deep enough on a single) to turn away and scramble as he scoots his leg away diagonally. It's not easy to do at all and it's yet to be seen if he has the core and wrestling talent/knowledge to be able to defend like that.
Aggressive grapplers like Oliveira, Lamas, Swanson, or CSJ could very well submit him if the fight gets taken to the ground as well but those guys would still have to face his striking and work very hard to get him into those positions. We haven't seen enough of McGregor on his back yet to know how good his guard is now, who knows how much he's improved there. He has been working a lot with guys like Gunni after all. I'd imagine that he's worked on creating enough space to scramble out if he threatens with various techniques off his back. But yeah, he could end up losing on the ground to Brandao if he shows similar openings and mistakes from the past, but I'd have to think he's grown quite a bit since then and expect him to starch him in a similar performance to the Brimage one.