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TUF 22 Recap: Team McGregor Unites to Get First Win

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

That’s a common aphorism used by those settling in on a path of success. But what if it is broken? What if your ideal way of accomplishing a specific goal goes awry? If you find yourself constantly wallowing in the bitter waters of defeat, it’s time to look into the mirror and make a change.

Conor McGregor is a world class fighter, but he is far from being a world class coach. That much has been apparent ever since he stepped onto the set of The Ultimate Fighter with a slick suit and designer sunglasses. The UFC interim featherweight champion hasn’t sugarcoated anything since the beginning. He is on his own journey, and he expects his team to adopt the same individualistic ideology that helped propel him to the top of the featherweight division.

There is no “babying” or “hand holding” with Team McGregor. There is also no head coach — for the most part, anyways. McGregor has adopted a hands-off approach with his team. He often skips practice and leaves the training duties to his personal ensemble of assistant coaches.

The unorthodox coaching approach has been disastrous thus far, seeing as Team McGregor was 0-2 heading into the third fight. McGregor didn’t mince words when jumping on Sascha Sharma from straying from the game plan last week and losing a unanimous decision to Chris Gruetzemacher.

During another brotherly tussle, Urijah Faber offered some words of wisdom to McGregor on the fine art of coaching.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ea23kp-bBxA

“World champions don’t need their hands held,” McGregor responded. “You either want to fight and come in here and win the show or you don’t. If you don’t, then I don’t give a f–k about you.”

McGregor has played it cool for the most part and remained emotionally detached from his team, but there was truth in the words spoken by Faber. Actions speak louder than words, and although McGregor would never admit it, Faber’s words had a bit of an impact.

McGregor smoothed things over with his team and Sharma in particular after last week’s outburst. He now realizes that it is impossible to be emotionally detached from a group of guys he helps mold and shape on a daily basis. Being a coach isn’t easy, but these are McGregor’s fighters. He has to make the best of it.

The revised coaching methods paid off big time when Team McGregor’s Marcin Wrzosek took on Team Faber’s Tom Gallicchio this week.

There was no secret to Gallicchio’s game plan against the more polished striker. He wanted to take the fight to the ground and exchange wits in the grappling department. The takedown was there for Gallicchio, who found openings on the front foot-heavy Wrzosek.

A mental breakdown for the Team McGregor fighter put him in early danger as he allowed Gallicchio to take his back and work for a rear-naked choke.

But Wrzosek didn’t panic. He rode out the position until he found an opening to scramble free. It was back to a steady dose of hooks once the bout returned to the feet. By the second round, Gallicchio was completely gassed after trying so hard to control Wrzosek’s back.

Blood was in the water, and Wrzosek’s nose stiffened like a great white. Instinct took over as Wrzosek stuffed lackluster takedowns and pounded Gallicchio on the feet to earn the unanimous decision (20-18).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3g-CoKRfImM

After the bout, Team McGregor received its first opportunity to choose the next fight on the show. McGregor is bringing out the big guns next week as he chose Saul Rogers to take on Team Faber’s Billy Quarantillo. Rogers is a guy McGregor believes has the potential to win the entire show.

If you’re behind and need to catch-up on all of the fight drama, we got you covered:

New episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber” air every Wednesday night on FOX Sports 1 at 10 p.m. ET.

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