Last summer, nutritionist Chris Algieri, Head Performance Nutrition Coach at Stony Brook University, revealed to Men's Health the MMA fighters' diets to keep them in shape. As you might expect, the calories consumed by a fighter are pretty numerous - aside from a hearty pre-workout meal eaten about four hours before a fight (taking hits to the stomach right before a fight is... well, a bad idea), they consume drinks high in nitrates before and protein shakes after them. And their diet consists mostly of protein. The diet of MMA pros is pretty similar to the one of other athletes in performance-based sports but perhaps not as insane as the one consumed by professional strongmen.
Hafþór Júlíus "Thor" Björnsson is best-known for his role in the hit HBO series "Game of Thrones" (the nickname "The Mountain" was a perfect fit for the 6 foot 9, 440-pound giant). He is not the strongest man in the world - last year, he came in second in the 2017 World's Strongest Man competition - but he is pretty strong when it comes to eating. At one point about two years ago, "Thor" Björnsson shared the insane quantity of food he consumed while preparing for the 2016 World’s Strongest Man competition Facebook account. And by "insane" we mean about five times what the average person eats in one day - a little over 10,000 calories. Make no mistake, this is not his everyday diet - it's the one he turns to when bulking up. And he seems to be doing a great job.
Would anyone be brave enough to fight such a monster, you might ask? Well, apparently none other than Conor McGregor. Looking at the two facing each other surely reminded people of the biblical fight between David and Goliath: McGregor, standing 5 feet 7 and with a billed weight of around 155 lbs facing the 440-pound monster towering in front of him. But he didn't let himself be intimidated by "Thor" Björnsson's sheer mass and challenged him to a friendly fight. The result was what everyone expected:
"We squared off as if we were gonna do it. Then all of a sudden, he's bouncing and I'm bouncing. Next thing you know, we're having a full, bare-knuckle body shot fight," McGregor told the press at the UFC 194 media lunch in 2015. "I was hitting him with some shots. I had to hit him with some shots. He was trying to hit me as well. He wasn't taking it easy. He tried to grab me and tried to pull my head off. I defended, freed the head. I was like this motherf*cker is so big, I have to start smashing him to the body."
Why bring up this matter now, you might ask? After all, this happened three years ago, and it was completely unofficial. Well, this May, the second strongest man in the world (officially, that is) told Off the Ball that he would like to meet McGregor again, this time in the cage.
"He’s quick and he was very slippery as well so it was hard to get a grip on him... I was just, I wasn’t ready for this [fighting with McGregor] and I’m obviously a big guy. I was like, ‘Fuck this,’ I’m not going to run after this small guy! He’s running around, you know? I don’t have cardio for running around after small guys." He also said that he could've finished the Dubliner in "10 seconds" but he didn't want to "break him".
Would McGregor stand a chance against "Thor" Björnsson in a proper cage fight? Would his technique and still be enough to counter the sheer mass and raw power of the athlete-turned-actor? But more importantly, would you want to see this fight?