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“A happy fighter is a dangerous fighter” – SBG head coach John Kavanagh said ahead of his star pupil Conor McGregor‘s January 2020 clash against Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone. The Irishman had been returning after a long layoff, a hand injury, and an unceremonious loss to rival Khabib Nurmagomedov. Fast forward to May 2024, and it seems the stars are aligning similarly again.

McGregor has embraced the wholesome old approach to training as he gears up to take on Michael Chandler at UFC 303. He has been sharing updates on social media with his fans as he is sharpening his tools to return to the Octagon on June 29 for the first time since he broke his leg in a fight against Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 in 2021.

McGregor recently posted several photos and a video from his sparring sessions at the Crumlin Boxing Club in South Dublin. The brief clip highlights ‘The Notorious’ displaying his trademark movement and distance management as he nearly drops his opponent despite both men wearing headgear and heavy sparring gloves.

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However, the fans were left stunned by another of his updates on Instagram, where the entire McGregor family was training together. But more importantly, fans were even more perplexed by an image of a barefoot and bare-chested McGregor hugging a tree with a huge smile on his face. The posts also contained pictures of his fiancee Dee Devlin, working hard in the gym, and his son, Conor Jr., emulating his father on the pads. The post was cryptically captioned with a tree, a heart, a bicep flex, and a folded hands emoji, which the fans were also curious about.

McGregor looked happy. But this takes us back to 2020 when coach John Kavanagh said, “It’s a real return to smiling on the mat, enjoying it, having fun. And it’s cliche to say, but a happy fighter is a dangerous fighter. He just seems really happy with his life and his training and with the environment that we have here and competing again and having those exchanges and so on and so on. I think this is going to be the best he’s ever been.”

There is a similar energy to ‘Mystic Mac’s camp ahead of this welterweight return. He is not forcing himself into a war zone, away from his family, as he did before the UFC 264 bout. He is hoping for a great performance against Chandler. The fact he is not immediately re-matching his previous opponent and is taking a 170 lbs bout adds to the similarities to UFC 246. Now all that remains to be seen is if he can replicate the 40-second knockout from UFC 246 against someone of Chandler’s calibre.

But this new approach has left fans scratching their heads. They took to the comments to let their thoughts known about the intriguing post by the Irishman and some even humorously wondered if the family training together is a sign that at UFC 303, Michael Chandler will have to face the entire McGregor clan!

Fans can’t stop making jokes about Conor McGregor’s gym session with family

One fan bluntly inquired about the peculiar training images shared by McGregor, as they were confused about the update. Could McGregor hugging a tree simply mean he loves nature or does it have a different meaning? “What r u doing lad,” wrote one Instagram user. Comments like “What is this Conor”, “Bro is so random” and “The whole fam in the gym” were plenty.

UFC 303 seems like a family affair for the McGregor’s. “His whole family gonna fight chandler or what??” a person suggested.

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McGregor’s partner, Dee Devlin, also shared a positive message of support for the Irishman as she highlighted her dedication in the comments “Your team for life!”

While some people were confused seeing Mystic Mac hug a tree, some people were all for it. “Tree hugging. Whole family training. This is the way,” commented one fan while another one stated, “Tree hugging Conor is undefeated.”

Further, another person mentioned, “New legendary fighter unlocked: Connor “Live Laugh Love” McGregor.” While it may seem true, let’s not forget that the Irish fighter has posted several social media updates of him having a good time, be it with his family and friends or at his The Black Forge Inn.

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In conclusion, the mix of intense sparring footage and lighthearted family moments paints a picture of a fighter who is both serious about his comeback and grounded in his personal life. Whether this new approach will translate to success in the Octagon remains to be seen, but it has certainly ignited excitement and intrigue around McGregor’s highly anticipated return.

Do you think Conor McGregor will be able to return to his peak form against Michael Chandler despite the long hiatus from the competition? Share your thoughts in the comments below!