The world of combat sports is taking an odd twist in 2015, as we witness professional boxing and mixed martial arts on a seemingly head-on collision course. Not only has boxing great Floyd Mayweather been involved in beef with UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, he’s also been intertwined with UFC interim featherweight champion Conor McGregor.
The Irish fighting sensation took the media spotlight with his UFC 189 TKO victory over Chad Mendes, and he has got the attention of the entire sporting world, including ‘Money’ (of the boxing type). Having already siad he would knock Mayweather out once before, ‘The Notorious’ continued the trend of MMA vs Boxing in a recent interview with The Guardian:
“In a real fight I would dismantle him in seconds. Ronda would dismantle him in seconds – 100%. When you don’t know how to grapple you don’t stand a chance. For us, it’s like playing with a baby. People who don’t understand the sport cannot understand how vulnerable they are. There are always clinches and Ronda is a judo Olympian. She would throw Floyd on his head in a second. Me? I would knock him out. Cold.”
“Why would he take me on?” McGregor agrees. He pauses. “But if you’re talking about a fight that could generate half a billion – it’s this one. There’s never going to be another boxing fight like this. Only a cross-style match between Mayweather and me could generate that kind of interest and revenue. So maybe it could happen. I would certainly be up for it. I am capitalising on every single opportunity. It’s a strong word, one of my favourite words: capitalise. I’m ready to capitalise on everything.”
Outside of his beef with Mayweather, McGregor’s performance at UFC 189 has, perhaps unfairly, come under some criticism. With many, including Mendes and Team Alpha Male, believing it would have been a different result had both men been in full camps, ‘The Notorious’ is put in an odd spot. But McGregor argues that he was the one who caused Mendes to tire, before the first takedown was even attempted:
“It amuses me how many so-called experts claim he won the first round. He was done in the first round. He was breathing heavily and I attacked his body relentlessly. I had him badly hurt even before he got the takedown. In a fight to the death what does a takedown mean? In the jungle a lion knows he must attack the neck. It’s the same in my game. You have to attack the neck, the chin. These guys who try to win by getting someone in an arm or leg-lock to force a submission? That’s not being victorious. I believe in the KO.”
“The second round he came out again and I caught him with heavy shots. He secured a second takedown but I rolled out of it. I got to my feet and went back to work. I went to the body and I lit him up. You then attack the neck and the chin. That’s how you kill the fight.”
“It’s hard for them when I go in the cage. They endure their own emotional struggles. It’s a very intense experience – the purest form of adrenaline and excitement. I’m addicted to it. There is so much else in this game – so much business, so much media, so much work.”
With Aldo vs. McGregor being made official for December 12th, we’ll see how the lion handles the Brazilian force to attempt a title unification. He is never short on confidence, and has thus far backed up all his talk, but will he be able to take the step up in competition in his stride?
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