OUTSPOKEN Irishman Conor McGregor has had a huge impact on the UFC, becoming hugely popular on his way to becoming a two-weight MMA champion.
Taking out a boxing licence has fuelled talk about McGregor making a dramatic switch of sports. It’s unclear whether Conor is angling for an unlikely showdown with Floyd Mayweather or whether he is strengthening his hand for negotiations with the UFC itself.
“I don’t care about Floyd,” said McGregor, speaking at a Q&A in Belfast. “I fear no man.” But the idea of boxing Mayweather did prompt him to explore a new sport as an actual option. “It opened my eyes a little bit. Maybe I can pursue this, maybe I can pursue the boxing side. Maybe there’s something there,” he said. “Let’s see what happens, now I have my boxing licence.”
It’s enough to attract the interest of top promoter Bob Arum, who tweeted him saying: “If you are REALLY serious about a professional boxing career, please call Top Rank Boxing.”
Of course there are many boxers keen to expose McGregor’s shortcomings in their sport, not least Paulie Malignaggi, the former world champion, who called Conor out. McGregor seemed uninterested in Malignaggi though, declaring, “Who the f*** is that guy?”
Considering how he could make the transition, he said, “With correct preparation, if I took out my jiu jitsu training, my wrestling training, my kickboxing training, if I took out all of those different disciplines and focused with the work ethic that I have solely on the sport of boxing, there’s no telling what I could do.”
He appeared on stage next to World amateur gold medallist, and frustrated Olympian, Michael Conlan who will make his professional debut next year. McGregor had some advice for him. “You know what it is to win a fight. After that robbery in the Olympics you were yourself. For that brief moment after you were robbed in the Olympics you were yourself,” he said. “That’s the way to be. Be who you are… Take no shit.”
He added, “Take no prisoners in there. That’s the main thing, go in and take no prisoners. Let the whole division that you’re in know what you’re coming to do and then go out and follow what you’ve said. Go and do it. And the rest falls into place.”