The “Notorious One” may not technically be scheduled to compete inside of a ring or cage at the moment, but that does not mean Conor McGregor is taking it easy during his self-imposed layoff as he awaits the birth of his first child.
Despite a story in The Sun claiming that a date and venue has been agreed upon for a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jnr., there has been no official announcement from either side that a contract has even been signed. However, at this point, it appears to be an absolute certainty that the UFC’s first simultaneous two division champion’s next fight will be in a boxing ring against the biggest draw in boxing history.
On Wednesday’s Fox Sports News 500’s Bill and Boz show, McGregor’s head trainer John Kavanagh, spoke of his confidence that the fight will happen and confirmed that his fighter has already begun to physically prepare for the bout.
“In my mind, it’s on…there’s a lot of fingers in the pie in this one. There’s different promotions, different organizations, different commissions that are involved. But as far as I’m concerned, I really believe it’s going to happen this year, and that’s the mindset I have. So, let the people in the suits worry about the paperwork. We’re training for it.”
Kavanagh also hinted at the potential weight that the fight might be contested at, saying that boxing’s welterweight limit of 147 pounds has been discussed between the two camps. Should that be the case it would appear to be another disadvantage for McGregor, who has never boxed professionally, due in part to the fact that he has not fought anywhere close to that weight since December 12, 2015, exactly three months after Mayweather fought his last bout against Andre Berto.
Conor’s last fight was at 155 pounds where he won the UFC lightweight title by knocking out Eddie Alvarez. The two fights before that were both against Nate Diaz at 170 pounds. In McGregor’s last fight at MMA’s featherweight limit of 145 lbs, he won his first world title by flattening the long time, and current, UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo in 13 seconds.
Mayweather, on the other hand, has never weighed more than 151 pounds going into a fight and has only fought north of boxing’s welterweight limit three times during his 49-0 run as a professional. The five-division champion has been competing mostly at 147 pounds since 2005.
Kavanagh also went into more detail about the training saying that preparing his man for a boxing match is “simpler” than the usual regiment for an MMA bout, but conceded that it is not “easier.”
“It’s almost like the kind of physicality to get ready for like a rugby game compared to getting ready for a soccer game. Not that it’s easier, it’s different. [There are] Different energy systems involved. So, we can cut out all the grappling training that we’d have to do…There’s less skills involved. But yeah, we’re training different for it than we have in the past.”
Previously McGregor stated that he thought the fight would happen in June, more recently he and his team revealed that they are now thinking that it will happen in September. That month seems more logical due to the fact that since becoming boxing’s biggest pay-per-view draw, Mayweather has only fought on the biggest weekends in boxing, the ones closest to Mexican Independence Day and Cinco de Mayo.
For this “super-fight” that will bring two different fan bases together, there will be more than enough money to go around. The Nevada Athletic Commission, who surely does not want the fight to take place outside of their state, has already moved to reduce the fines issued to McGregor for his role in the infamous UFC 202 press conference where the champion responded to a water bottle being thrown at him by launching bottles of water and several full monster energy cans across a packed room in an attempt to hit Diaz and/or any member of his camp as they were leaving. Once McGregor “tosses” them the money owed, he will be able to apply for a boxing license in the state of Nevada.
This attempt by the NSAC to smooth over relations with the UFC champion does not necessarily mean that the fight will take place in Nevada. The venue, date and all other things related to the fight really depend on one man, Floyd Mayweather. He is truly the one holding all the cards in regards to whether the fight happens at all.
As recently as March 20th the undefeated boxer previously known as “Pretty Boy” Floyd was in Moscow and appeared on Russia-owned media network RT to discuss the potential crossover fight. In that interview, Floyd first stressed that no agreement was yet in place for the fight to even take place before going on to say that it will only be when the details regarding the contract are finalized that a date and venue would be decided upon. “Money” Mayweather then hinted at the possibility of the fight happening elsewhere when he stated “If somehow it turns out the fight will be in Moscow, then I have no problem. If I had to choose now then I would choose Moscow.”
UFC President Dana White, who in the past was adamantly opposed to his champion competing in a boxing match, also has publicly acknowledged that the fight is an inevitability. While appearing on Conan O’Brien’s show last month White admitted as much when pointing out the potential revenue for all involved and saying that “[He does not] see how it doesn’t happen.” Recently on The Herd with Colin Cowherd he added:
“for [Conor] to have this kind of opportunity, to make this kind of money, this type of a fight that people are so interested in worldwide, I almost feel like I have to make it…Conor wants [it] because financially it’s going to be massive for him”
Not everyone is as interested in the fight as the UFC President would have you believe. Many fans have voiced their opinion that they are tired of hearing about it, but there is little doubt that most of them will shell out the money to watch it or find some way to tune in.
One of the reasons for the disinterest is that most boxing fans and pundits, with the exception of Fox Sports 1’s Skip Bayless, do not think that the UFC’s top draw will stand a chance in a boxing match against arguably the greatest boxer of this generation (a panel of experts from ESPN named him the greatest pound-for-pound boxer of the last 25 years in 2016).
Betting website Bovada listed Mayweather as a -850 favorite with a bet on McGregor coming back at +525 as of March 17th.
Boxing’s former Undisputed Heavyweight Champion Lennox Lewis even weighed in with a similar opinion explaining to TMZ Sports when asked about the fight.
“I don’t even think it’s a good fight, Conor’s great at all different styles, but you’ve got Floyd who’s a master of one and Conor’s trying to box him at his style,” Lewis stated. “It’s a great spectacle, but I don’t think it will be a great fight”
So when, where and how will the fight happen? Usually, the saying is “only time will tell”, but in this instance, as is the case with anything involving Floyd Mayweather, it is more accurate to say “Only Floyd will tell.” And he is not telling…yet.
Dana White gives an update on the lightweight title picture
When it comes to the lightweight division there is always a lot of talk with very little clarification. But now it seems Dana White has had enough of waiting for champion Conor McGregor and plans to move on in his absence.
“The Notorious” Conor McGregor won the UFC lightweight title back in November 2016 at UFC 205 where he became the first fighter to hold two belts simultaneously, however, he has not competed in MMA since.
Speaking on Sunday night’s after UFC Fight Night St. Louis UFC President Dana White said “Conor has said he is thinking about coming back in September if he comes back in September that’s almost two years, that can’t happen. It’s not fair to everybody else. Love Conor, respect Conor, love everything he’s done for this company, everybody knows that I say it all the time. The belt would have to move on.”
White also spoke about the two men that would fight for the lightweight belt saying “You do Khabib versus Tony, we’re working on that fight now and if and when Conor comes back he would get the first crack at the title.”
Then when presenter Karyn Bryant pushed for clarification and asked: “So you’re saying that Conor could possibly be stripped of his title?” Dana responded without hesitation “absolutely”.
"Conor has said he's thinking about coming back in September. If he comes back in September, that's almost two years…that can't happen." — @danawhite
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) January 15, 2018
The news will excite UFC fans across the globe who have been clamoring for the Ferguson vs Khabib matchup which they have been denied on three separate occasions. No date was confirmed for the potential matchup but rumors have been circulating that the UFC is targeting UFC 223 in April.
Conor McGregor reacts to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s win at UFC 219
On Saturday night the world watched as Khabib Nurmagomedov dismantled the striking expert Edson Barboza at UFC 219. The reactions were filled with praise for the undefeated Russian fighter. Media members and fans alike were calling Nurmagomedov one of the best lightweights in the world, but there is one man the world was waiting to hear from, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor. McGregor was silent following the fight between Nurmagomedov and Barboza, that is until Monday morning when he took to Twitter to state his opinion about the Number one contender.
That Dagestani was dog shit the other night you's are all nuts. Game full of sloppy bums asking to be slept. Pay me my worth and Kings back.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) January 1, 2018
Truly truly truly get on your fucking knees and beg me. Otherwise I don't give a bollox.
My whiskey is out this year and thats Diddy bread.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) January 1, 2018
“Truly truly truly get on your fucking knees and beg me,” McGregor wrote on Twitter. “Otherwise, I don’t give a bollox. My whiskey is out this year and that’s Diddy bread.” The whiskey that McGregor is referring to is his very own grand that he announced would be coming out following his loss to Floyd Mayweather this past August.
Rumors about McGregor’s return have ranged from him retiring from fighting to live a life of wealth with his family, to expect his return to the UFC this summer. No one really knows if McGregor will ever defend his UFC lightweight belt, but if he is to do so UFC President Dana White has said that it will be against interim champion Tony Ferguson.
Ferguson was also seeking a fight with Nurmagomedov prior to winning the interim belt against Kevin Lee. It is entirely possible that we will see these two battle for the interim title in the octagon before we see the return of Conor McGregor. Of course, these days there are no guarantees in regards to title contention, McGregor and his camp have publically stated that they would like to face Nurmagomedov in his home country of Russia.
Conor McGregor has ‘Every intention of fighting in 2018’
Despite being inactive since his historic boxing bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August, Conor McGregor is never far from the headlines. Recently his out of cage antics have got people questioning if he’ll ever be back.
Thankfully the UFC lightweight champion appears to have cleared up any rumors about his fighting career.
Speaking to his sponsor Betsafe, the “Notorious” Conor McGregor said “My focus is getting back into the right ring or octagon. 2017 was historic. I have transcended both the sport of MMA and boxing. At this stage of my career, as it has been for the majority of my UFC career, potential opponents must lobby for fights with me. We could see Conor McGregor anywhere. I run the fight game, the fashion game, the whiskey game or whatever the next business endeavor might be”.
McGregor added, “I have every intention of fighting in 2018 if my compensation and business development endeavors accurately reflect my influence on combat sports.”
This comes just two weeks after UFC President Dana White told reporters “Conor might never fight again. The guy’s got $100 (expletive) million. I’ve got guys that made less than that and were lawyers and went to school their whole life and quit working.”
White went on to say “Try to get up and get punched in the face every day when you’ve got $100 million in the bank. Money changes everything with a lot of people.”
White also told reporters that the “Notorious one”, “can’t be paid enough money” and that he is “worth every penny and more.” McGregor’s recent statement suggests he knows that and won’t be back till his demands are met.
The UFC lightweight division has been stalled in the absence of the champion McGregor and now the interim champion Tony Ferguson has undergone surgery. The UFC has been known the remove belts from fighters who have been delayed for extended amounts of time, this would be highly unlikely with the popularity of McGregor.
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