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Conor McGregor ‘living in fantasy’ world, says UFC lightweight contender Rafael Fiziev

Fiziev offered to teach the Irishman ‘how to kick and defend kicks properly’

Rafael Fiziev has said Conor McGregor is ‘living in a fantasy world’ after the Irishman reacted to video highlights of the UFC lightweight contender on Twitter.

Fiziev is preparing for a main-event clash with former 155lbs champion Rafael dos Anjos this weekend, and MMA journalist Alex Behunin took to Twitter to share a video of the Kyrgyzstani ‘entering the Matrix’ in various fights.

Fiziev’s signature defensive maneouvre of leaning back to evade head kicks has drawn comparisons to the famous ‘bullet-dodge’ scene from the 1999 film The Matrix, but McGregor believes he knows how to catch out Fiziev.

In response to the video shared by Behunin, McGregor wrote: “This is awesome. Change the roundhouse to an axe kick.

“Roundhouse into [an] axe kick and this defense eats the full of the heel. I’m telling you. If their reaction to a high kick is this, implement the axe.”

McGregor’s constructive criticism of Fiziev’s opponents drew a scathing response from the Kyrgyzstani, however.

“Conor, I invite you to @tigermuaythai [gym] where we can show you how to kick and defend the kicks properly,” Fiziev tweeted, “so you can stop living in fantasy world where you think it’s possible to land an axe kick in this situation.”

McGregor soon replied, writing: “I’m not disrespecting. I’m telling you, I’ve faced this defense habit a lot in my time where I knew every high kick I threw was being pulled back from and hitting air. I then began changing to an axe kick and came down on top with great success. That or the running roundhouse.

“Sir, all due respect. I didn’t do all I have done in this business by living in ‘fantasy world’. I done it through in depth personal study. Dissecting movement patterns and habits and capitalizing off of them with devastating results. Have respect, I have not disrespected you.

“‘Fantasy world’ is thinking that this major defensive habit you have developed is impenetrable. It is very much so penetrable. Habits are opportunities to set traps. Good luck.

“Thank you for the offer. When I am in Thailand I will head here for sure! Don’t disrespect, you are yet to do anything significant in this sport. Good luck in your upcoming fight.”

Fiziev enters his Fight Night bout against Dos Anjos with a professional record of 11-1, having won his last five contests.

Dos Anjos was scheduled to defend the UFC lightweight title against McGregor in 2016, but the Brazilian was forced to withdraw from the bout due to injury. McGregor went on to fight Nate Diaz instead, losing via submission before outpointing the American later in the year.

In the meantime, Dos Anjos lost the lightweight belt to Eddie Alvarez, whom McGregor knocked out in November 2016 to become the UFC’s first ever dual-weight champion. Eleven months prior to his victory over Alvarez, McGregor had knocked out Jose Aldo to win the UFC featherweight title.

Since beating Alvarez, McGregor has gone 1-3 in the UFC and most recently suffered a broken leg in a loss to Dustin Poirier last July. Earlier in 2021, Poirier knocked out the 33-year-old in the second round.

Due to his ongoing recovery from injury, McGregor is expected to return to the Octagon at the end of this year at the earliest.

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