Why Conor McGregor's verbal sparring can give him the edge against Jose Aldo

Cian Cowley has been helping McGregor to prepare for his fight with Jose Aldo at UFC 194

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Cian Cowley, Facebook

As Conor McGregor prepares for the biggest fight of his career, training partner Cian Cowley reveals what it's like to be in the octagon wit the UFC interim champion. 

When McGregor comes to town, the whole show is about the Dubliner; from TV to radio to digital, everyone wants to talk to the man who generates headlines with the same ease that he has demolished his opponents so far in the UFC. 

McGregor's quick wit and sardonic comments don't stop when the microphones are off, however, as Cowley reveals: "I didn’t think he was like that, you’d land a shot on him and he’d say 'almost' and then say 'c’mon son, let’s go toe to toe'". 

"Not in a bad way, because we’re training partners at the end of the day, but he does urge you on. That’s when he’s at his best when he gets you frustrated".

Cowley, who currently holds Muay Thai belts across multiple federations, recently started training with SBGi as he focuses on crossing-over into the world of mixed martial arts,  and has been sparring with McGregor ahead of his UFC Featherweight world championship unification fight at UFC 194.

While it might seem to people as though McGregor is simply running his mouth, Cowley insists that the talking can have an effect on you in the Octagon. 

"I remember when he was calling me on before and I was just swinging wildly. That’s when I started getting clipped. Every time I got frustrated and started moving forward, he’d draw me in, make a move, and that’s when I started getting hit."

Cowley soon realised that the best approach to take is to start talking back: "He kind of likes the fact that you talk back to him, trash talking as you go. You say something to him and he’ll have something back straight away."

While this is a hard bout to predict, given Aldo's incredible record to date, Cowley is confident that "this is a car crash of a match up for Aldo. I don’t think it’ll go the distance, I think it will be done by the first round", adding that he believes that the Brazilian will fight with too much emotion and leave himself open to McGregor's strikes.


Sparring for UFC 194! #UNIFY

A video posted by Conor McGregor Official (@thenotoriousmma) on Nov 21, 2015 at 11:11am PST

Even if the fight does go the distance, he argues that we'll get a glimpse at a side of Conor McGregor we’ve never seen before: "Without a doubt he has the gas tank, and if it goes into the final rounds, Aldo is going to be broken up".

Having been kept back on a number of occasions to do extra work with McGregor in the run up top the fight, he has seen first hand the intensity and the "full-on" style of the Crumlin-man up close and personal. 

"He clipped me a couple of times. He’s elusive, I wouldn’t say it was one-sided but he got me a couple of times".

Cian Cowley also runs Warriors Muay Thai gym in Dun Laoghaire in south Dublin. While he is not in a position to say when his next fight will be - he can reveal that it will be "early" in 2016 - and it will be his debut MMA fight.

Having left school at 15 to travel to Thailand to fight, Cowley recently took part in Newstalk's first mini-doc, I’ll Smile When I’m Rich: Inside Irish MMA and discussed his career and future ambitions.