Tristar Gym head coach Firas Zahabi was a recent guest on Joe Rogan’s podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience” and got to talking about issues with cardio and power in fighters when Rogan brought up Ultimate Fighting Championship former lightweight and featherweight champion Conor McGregor and the issues he’s faced fatiguing in both the Octagon and boxing ring.
“The Notorious” has had issues in the past with his cardio in fights where he starts strong but fades considerably in the later rounds, as seen in his two mixed martial arts fights with Nate Diaz and his sole boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Zahabi told Rogan he believes the Irishman’s cardio issues could be down to his genetics when it comes to conserving his energy (via Bloody Elbow):
“It think it’s partly genetic,” Zahabi said. “I call it the touch of death. He’s got that left hand, it’s the touch of death. That touch of death comes at a cost. How do you have the touch of death? Where does power come from? No. 1 on the list, number one, is where your muscle is attached to the bone. It’s genetic. So, Mike Tyson, he has a powerful left hook not because his coach taught him how to hit a left hook.
“He could have hit a left hook like that if he had a mediocre trainer. It has to do with the leverage of his bones,” he continued. “So, for instance, imagine a really heavy pole that weighs a hundred pounds, and I want to stand it up. Well, depending on where I grab it, I’m gonna have more resistance or less resistance. If I grab it near the end, I have more leverage. So where your muscles are attached to the bone is gonna dictate how much leverage you get out of it.”
“If you have a fast-twitch muscle fiber, you can hold less oxygen, but it can twitch faster. Hence the name,” Zahabi explained. “So, if you’re a slow-twitch muscle fiber guy, you can metabolize more oxygen, but you can’t twitch as fast. So, there’s a give and take. So you have a guy like Nick Diaz who needs to knock you out with volume. He can’t knock you out with one shot,” he added. “Look at B.J. Penn. If round one, he doesn’t knock you out, the likelihood of him knocking you out in round two is less. Diaz is the opposite.
“The likelihood of him knocking you out in round three is higher than round one, because of the cumulative attack. McGregor, look at his stats. It’s all round one knockout, round two knockout (using) his fast-twitch, high-leverage left hand. If you take him into deep waters, his fast-twitch muscle fibers cannot metabolize with Mayweather. Mayweather’s so smart, he let McGregor work for three rounds. ’I knew you’re getting excited, keep working. And when you have nothing left, I’m gonna put you out.’ That was such a brilliant strategy.”