Conor McGregor and his wealth of options

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“Options are a beautiful thing, and I have many.” (Conor McGregor)

As Conor McGregor neared his biggest pay day to date, fighting Floyd Mayweather in a boxing ring, he uttered these famous words. It is just as true now as it was when he said it. The biggest draw in the UFC, maybe in combat sports as a whole, has numerous options. The question is where does he go? The fight he takes will not even come close to the money he just walked away with. McGregor has made no secret of his plan to make his name, make his money and then leave competitive action. Is this the time he leaves? It surely can’t be. There are too many beautiful options for him to pass up at the moment.

Stay in Boxing

There is an outside chance that ‘the Notorious One’ could stay in the sport of boxing. Fighting the best of the best, even if he was beyond his prime, showed that the Irishman has a lot to learn about the discipline at the elite level. A man who does not believe in failure, like McGregor, must have an appetite to prove himself in a boxing ring. He will not want his record to stay at 0-1 for the rest of time.

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The issue here is the opponent he would be facing. Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin look set to fight again after their draw which was controversial. Who else has the pull around the middleweight division where McGregor would more than likely compete?

McGregor – Diaz 3

While Dana White recently informed the public that the third fight was not booked rumours have been swirling around before the Mayweather fight. It will happen. It has to. A win each for both the fighters signals the need for a conclusion. Is it the right time? It is indeed. Nate Diaz has not fought since the second encounter in order to preserve his reputation and not lose what would be the biggest pay day of his career.

December 30th has been speculated greatly as the date for this encounter to take place. The UFC would ultimately receive some heat from the roster if the fight was made. The fans may want it but fighters in the two divisions McGregor concurred will fancy a crack at him. It seems the UFC owners are at a crossroads here. Go for the big money fight? Or give a fighter who has worked hard for a title shot the chance to face ‘the Notorious One’?

Tony Ferguson

After UFC 216, where Tony Ferguson submitted Kevin Lee, he seems to be the man that has the most right in fighting the Irish superstar. Ferguson claimed the interim lightweight title at UFC 216 and now McGregor must defend the undisputed title against him. It is not only Ferguson who believes this but also White who said it was a fight that ‘has to happen’.

It is likely that McGregor will be faced with the decision of vacating the lightweight title or fighting Ferguson. The two weight champ was forced to give up his featherweight title in November 2016 and will be unwilling to do so again.

Max Holloway

The current champion at 145 is Max Holloway who beat Jose Aldo for the belt in Rio De Janeiro at UFC 212. Hollaway now holds the undisputed belt at the weight McGregor dominated before he moved up. The pair have met before with McGregor claiming a unanimous decision victory.

While the fight is a likely one it would not be a good move for McGregor. He looks drained fighting at featherweight and making the weight could be a struggle now that he has moved up to 155 and reaching 170 against Nate Diaz.

Tyron Woodley

Tyron Woodley is dominant at welterweight. He may not be the most loved fighter on the roster due to his defensive style but nobody in the division can beat him right now. Sounds like a challenge made for McGregor. 170 is a push for the Irishman and this option has to be considered an outsider. The pull of increasing his legacy to a three weight world champion could tempt McGregor.

Khabib Nurmagomedov

A dream fight for many UFC fans. Nurmagomedov is an absolute monster in the octagon. He is dominant and would give McGregor huge problems if he could get him to the ground, which you would not bet against. With a record of 24-0 in MMA he poses a real threat to McGregor’s dominant reputation.

The issue is Nurmagomedov has been inactive. His last fight took place at UFC 2015 11 months ago. Since then he has pulled out of a match up against Ferguson, for a third time, due to illness after issues with his weight cut. Imagine the intense pressure on the Russian in the build up with McGregor. A world tour and the globes eyes on you 24/7 would seriously weight heavily on him. To claim the McGregor fight he would need to prove his fitness and ability to prepare for the fight. He is a couple of fights away from earning this fight.

Retirement?

Why not? In his own words, ‘Get in. Get rich. Get out’. He got in, he is rich and now the final step of his plan could be realised. He has spoken of his wish to work in the business area of the UFC. McGregor is switched on an knows that this cannot last forever.

Unlikely of course. But as yourself, would it really surprise you if he called it a day?


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Mayweather shows class to stop brave McGregor

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The 10 rounds that Mayweather and McGregor shared last night flew by in what seemed like no time. McGregor’s early pressure counted for little as Mayweather slowly took over the fight taking minimal risk while implementing a carefully constructed game plan. In a build up that has called into question the ability of professional boxers to the striking of a mega UFC star, Mayweather was able to comprehensively defend the integrity of the sport.

First it is important to pay respect to ‘the Notorious’. A journey that has seen him rise to the top of combat sports from relatively unknown over the course of 4 years is truly admirable. This was a step too far. Fans may draw on the length of the fight to argue he performed well. While he stayed in there and attempted to make Mayweather uncomfortable it did little good. Mayweather was never in any real trouble and early success seemed to be designed by the American fighter to draw out McGregor’s energy.

If it was not the game plan of Mayweather to tire the boxing debutant it is one hell of a coincidence. The Best Ever’ was cool in all the build up even when faced with McGregor’s famed mind games. They did nothing to the unflappable unbeaten boxer. While McGregor promised much, in which he genuinely believed he could deliver, nothing materialised. A well timed and powerful uppercut landed in the early stages as Mayweather came forward was a sign of what was to come. It did not cause Mayweather any trouble. One of the two shots that the Irishman said would put ‘Money’ to sleep taken and did not even spark a talking point.

While you have to respect McGregor’s mentality and eagerness to make the fight you have to concede that  he never hurt or really put pressure on his opponent. It was a tall order from day one and even knowing that fight fans had faith in the UFC fighter to do the business. McGregor’s self belief is real and fans are forced to listen when he makes comments with such conviction. However, it was just not to be and he looked truly inferior in the ring.

On the other hand Mayweather was just as you would expect. Calm, classy and composed. McGregor’s different stances, movement and punching angles could have easily caused him headaches, non of the above did. He controlled the fight from the minute the bout was confirmed. McGregor famously insists it is a different ball game when you sign to fight him. The same is true for Mayweather. And some. Everyone has the game plan to stop him before the fight, all have had respect boxed into them in the ring. He has seen it all, he has beat the best and now he retires 50-0.

The early stages were dominated by the Irishman throwing punches and trying to draw a mistake or open a gap in Mayweather’s famed defence. ‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd does not give chances. McGregor struggled with the pace and after a couple of rounds, as he so often does, Mayweather took over. Starting to land more shots with more power as the fight progressed. It became easy for the American after the midway point when McGregor truly wilted.

McGregor had some success at the start of the 9th round but it felt as it was his last hurrah in the fight. He landed a body shot, which may have been low, that drew a reaction from Mayweather. When the short break taken after the exchange ended Mayweather was on McGregor again almost as if he could smell blood. It ended soon after with a flurry of punches. One caused ‘the Notorious’ to stagger back and it looked ominous from there. Granted the stoppage may have been due to fatigue rather than punishment. You have to be able to defend yourself in boxing. McGregor looked unable to do so. In a boxing ring the stoppage was fair and just. Perhaps not in McGregor’s mind or by UFC standards.

Mayweather is a polarising figure in the sport of boxing. He did the sport a huge favour in this bout. If he would have lost it would have been disastrous not just for him but for the boxing community. Just as it would be if the impossible happened and he got into the octagon and beat McGregor. In a MMA contest McGregor would beat Mayweather in emphatic fashion. While Mayweather did not leave McGregor on the canvas in early stages it was the boxing equivalent. He implemented a game plan, made his opponent exert his energy and let the punches fly when he was in no danger of receiving punishment. Perfection in a boxing ring.

There is a difference between the two combat sports and the gulf in class in a boxing match was evident. McGregor will learn from this. In his own word, ‘we win or we learn’. He came back and avenged his loss against Nate Diaz, he will not be given the opportunity to do that this time – he might not even want to. He will improve and he may even box again. Who would not want to see him get in their with Paulie Malignaggi? However, he has a lot to learn. But one thing is for sure McGregor will come again in some form of combat and he will be better than ever.

Final word has to go to Mayweather on this occasion. His glittering 21 year career will go down as one of the best the sport has ever seen. Nicknamed ‘the Best Ever’ it seems fitting after last night. A younger, stronger and unique opponent handled with what seemed like little effort. What he has been magnificent all through his career. He has made the best boxers of his generation look average. He is a true great of the sport.

The best and worst reactions to Mayweather vs McGregor


Floyd Mayweather surpassed Rocky Marciano boxing record of 49-0 in his 50th contest recoding his 50th win without defeat. The fight was one sided and McGregor soon realised this was a different game than he anticipated. Both men handled them well post fight and showed respect for one and other. What did Twitter think of the fight? Here are some of the best and worst reactions.


Jose Aldo was decimated by Conor McGregor in the build up and in the main event at UFC 194. Given the amount of mental abuse he suffered from the Irishman you can see why he takes great joy from McGregor being outclassed. However, he has to handle himself with more class than this. It shows his bitter attittude towards ‘the Notorious’. Aldo is attempting to fuel talk of a rematch after his 13 second defeat. Still you can feel the sourness in this tweet.


Another possible opponent for the UFC’s golden boy on his return to the octagon Rafael dos Anjos reacted by criticising McGregor. They were set to fight for the UFC Lightweight strap but injury meant that the Brazilian had to pull out. McGregor went on to face Nate Diaz for the first time. In that time dos Anjos lost his title to Eddie Alvarez meaning that dos Anjos did not get his pay day. Again he is looking for the fight on McGregor’s return. Butthis tweet comes across as petty.


Joey Barton loves a tweet. He is right. Mayweather would not stand a chance in the octagon. That is obvious to see. But the beating McGregor was given in the squared circle last night was a landslide and showed that McGregor was out of his depth. He may have got some rounds in but that was always going to happen. Mayweather is not a puncher so he had to break down the UFC man.


One man that has been in with ‘the Notorious’ was able to let go of his disappointment of his defeat and give some respect to the crossover attempt. McGregor did put in the effort, you could see that from the training camp and the build up. He wanted to win. The way he handled himself afterwards did indeed show the world of MMA in a great light. Eddie Alvarez’s tweet was one of the best of the night. You have to appreciate what McGregor tried to do.


Tyron Woodley went a step further than Alvarez and congratulated both fighters on the spectacle they put on. Neither man could have done it on their own and they did generate genuine excitement and intrigue into their bout. Woodly has taken some criticism in the UFC similar to Mayweather.


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A great rival of Mayweather Manny Pacquiao was able to put differences aside and congratulate the undefeated fighter on his achievement. He summed up the night pretty well. He has been having in-ring difficulties himself but still handles himself with class.


50 Cent and Mayweather used to be close. Issues in their friendship meant that they are no longer on good terms. However, the rapper was able to acknowledge his former close friends accomplishment. He did so by using humour. Using a photo of himself (50) and a zero signifying ‘the Best Ever’s’ new unbeaten record.


All in all it was a good night for both men and both sports. The exposure MMA has received from this is amazing and boxing has proven its point. Both men are brilliant fighters and they put on a show for the fans.

Does McGregor have a chance? Of course he does!


In the last week of August a fight will take place that seemed impossible right up until the day it was announced. Floyd Mayweather would come out of retirement to face a fighter that has never competed in a professional boxing match. Connor McGregor will make the switch from mixed martial arts to compete under the Queensberry Rules. There are countless variables that make this encounter unique. Giving McGregor’s rapid rise to the top, has he already won? As he said on the world tour, four years ago he fought in front of 500 fans in London. Now look at him. The expectation is well and truly on his American opponent. Making this a free hit for ‘Notorious’ to pull off what no man has been able to do in over two decades.

Lets not get ahead of ourselves. McGregor has a lot to do. His style in the UFC is founded on striking, making the transition to boxing easier than the majority of the UFC roster. He throws powerful and precise left hands that have seen off top competitors in his usual promotion.

This is a whole different ball game. He faces a boxer who has taken less punishment in his 49 professional bouts than some boxers take in one. On fight night McGregor will have to have a game plan that exploits weaknesses in ‘Money’ Mayweather’s technique. Obviously before this he will have to find some first. The common consensus is that the Irishman will have to fight with a high intense style to put Mayweather on the back foot and put his great defensive skills to the ultimate test. Mayweather has fought opponents who have this style before.

Ricky Hatton made the trip to America to implement his rough and ready style on the slick American, that did not workrough and ready style on the slick American, that did not work. Manny Pacquiao got his chance, too late admittedly, he was schooled by Mayweather. Oscar De La Hoya rough Mayweather up a little bit in their 2007 fight, Mayweather stayed strong and even though he was pushed he came out victories.

McGregor also has to be aware of the increased duration of the fight. He may be younger but even in the UFC he has question marks over his ability to go the distance. The fight is eleven minutes longer and Mayweather is more accustomed to going all the way. McGregor has to be patient. He has to pick his times to work and fight on the inside. His strengths are to fight at distance and get the most out of his big left hand.

Many point to the age difference between the two fighters and while McGregor’s age and relevance have helped him in the build up the youth of Saul Canelo Alvarez did not help him. He was schooled by the unbeaten boxer. Mayweather has been out for some time which will raise questions over his sharpness. It will be just under two years when the two meet that Mayweather last competed. McGregor will have to test this if he has any chance to win.

So why has McGregor won already if everything seems to be in Mayweather’s favour? McGregor would succeed in anything he does. He has the mindset of a champion and he would not take an opportunity if he genuinely believed he could triumph. He is very rarely wrong. His predictions are legendary in the UFC. His self confidence is something that Mayweather has not faced before. Mayweather cannot break McGregor in the build up, he will not be able to do the same in the ring. Whatever happens in the ring Mayweather will be tested.

Even in the build up he has improved his reputation. He is a trash talker. Simple. He loves it and it shows. He ‘does not give a f***!’ and he proves that in his action. He is simply there to cause chaos and get under peoples skin. It works. Who knows if it will have an affect on the fight. Who cares? It’s a joy to watch. He has certainly put Mayweather on the back foot. McGregor is the main attraction at the press conferences. His quotes are repeated and worked into montages on YouTube. He has delivered in that aspect already. Can he deliver in the ring?

Why not? He is the bigger man. His reach is massive and he will have to use this to his advantage. ‘The Notorious’ is also superior in the power department. If you think of the fight you cannot see Mayweather hurting his opponent. If McGregor does land he will hurt Mayweather. That’s the difference. Does Mayweather have the power to stop McGregor coming forward? The UFC is far more brutal than boxing and the first two weight World champion of the company is accustomed to taking more punishment than Floyd can dish out.

McGregor’s movement is a joy yo behold. He is dynamic, quick and unique in the way he stalks his opponent. Mayweather will never have faced somebody like this before. It will be interesting to the style McGregor employs in the ring. Surely he will have to have his guard a little higher as the fighting range in boxing is closer. His reactions are second to non but even he will have to cover up a little bit more. The Irish fighter throws punches from everywhere and the fact he is a southpaw increases the problems for his opponent.

Connor McGregor is a once in a generation fighter, as is his opponent. That is why the fight is such a spectacle. It is the kind of fight that very rarely happens and it is taking place because of the UFC fighter. He has chased this. He has worked for this. He is hungry for this. These three points could be the difference on the night. Who needs this fight more? This is a man risking his legacy and a man fighting to make one. ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor has everything to achieve in this scenario, can he take it? It would not surprise us if he did.

The start of a long road towards Mayweather vs McGregor


One of the most beautiful aspects of boxing is the moment before the bell rings and everybody has no idea what is going to happen. The media tries to predict the outcome, as do the fans – realistically they have no idea. Their is always a favourite but when the fighters come toe to toe that does not matter. This August the world will be glued to an event that will attract far more than the boxing purists. Undefeated Floyd Mayweather will go up against UFC superstar Conor McGregor. Discussions will blaze on if this is good for boxing or just a money making scheme, but the reality is it is happening. So what on earth will happen?

From one point of view it is a mismatch. Floyd has a record that makes fighters envious. Whether you are a fan of the 49-0 pound for pound great is now irrelevant. His skills in the ring, on the microphone and in money making has consistently been showcased on the biggest stages around the world. Fans pay to see ‘pretty boy’ have the arrogant grin smashed off his face. Never happened and it appeared remain a dream when Floyd left boxing back in 2015 after he levelled legendary Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record with a wide points win over Andre Berto. The fight did not sell well on pay per view and Mayweather bowed out after the fight.

The rise of McGregor has forced Mayweather’s hand somewhat. The Irishman has took over the UFC with his trash talking build ups and brutally clinical wins inside the octagon. ‘The notorious one’ had created a huge fan base which is attracted to him by his lack of caring about peoples opinions and self confidence. The boy has charisma for sure.

McGregor wanted this fight. He has called out Mayweather and questioned his willingness to fight him. With an agreement now in place Mayweather has answered all those questions and now the fight is on.

So the first mental battle began. Is this another brilliant business move from the American boxer? He will make a reported $400 million for this fight and is a clear favourite. Or has McGregor appealed to Mayweather’s greed and drawn him out of retirement by offering him his most loved prize, a ton of money? It is difficult to say as both men have got what they wanted. They will both make a lot of money and it seems like a no brainier for both men. McGregor has nothing to lose. He is expected to be embarrassed by the best boxer in the world. Mayweather should put on a boxing clinic. Even well schooled and top quality boxers have struggled to land a glove on the elusive cash king. Ricky Hatton, Canelo Alvarez and Oscar De La Hoya all tried and all failed. The performance against Canelo is one of Mayweather’s best.

As good as ‘pretty boy Floyd’ has been throughout his brilliant career, McGregor poses an unpredictable threat to the American’s legacy. The proud Irish man is a fighter. He has been in battles in his MMA career and often comes out on top. He has a tremendous will to win and the work he puts in in his training camps is unbelievable. He masters many different fighting disciplines. He only has two weapons when he gets in the ring against Floyd and those are his fists. He is strong on his feet in the UFC though so he has a fair chance.

What can McGregor bring to the table that can trouble Mayweather? It is early to make any solid predictions about strategy. However, over the years many have said that Mayweather needs to face an opponent who will be able to put it on him and make him back up. It would be a disaster for McGregor to press forward with this fight plan. The double UFC champion is not that kind of fighter, he should not abandon how he has made his name. Looking at McGregor’s fight against Eddie Alvarez shows a viewer how he could cause problems. Mayweather is not going to come forward and force the fight. He will expect McGregor to force the fight and put pressure on him. That will play into the undefeated boxers hands. If McGregor can find the accuracy and penetration he often has he will cause Mayweather massive problems. McGregor has a reach advantage which could be the key to testing Floyd more than ever.

When the bell rings on 26 August even the biggest Mayweather fans will be nervous. Time out of the ring, a powerful left hand and just the unpredictable nature of the fight game will all attribute to this. The big question is can McGregor land? If he does we have a fight on our hands. If the left hand connects clean with power can Mayweather take it? The reality is we may never find out. It will be a classic match up of accuracy and timing against a defensive master. Mayweather has made a career out of not taking punishment. If he can do so for a further 48 minutes he will continue to a half century  of victories without defeat. The fight is a spectacle, even if it is not the best boxing match up of the year. We will be tuning in and as more details emerge we will be fascinated by what happens. No matter if you are a boxing fan, UFC fan, fight fan or just a casual fan – this event will be like nothing we have seen before. Forget boxing politics and reputations and just enjoy the fight for what it is.