Conor McGregor knows exactly the mistakes he made facing Floyd Mayweather back in August in his professional boxing debut in what became one of the biggest fights in the history of combat sports.
The 29-year old UFC champion asked for the chance to face Mayweather despite having no prior boxing experience outside of his earliest days spent in the gym in his hometown of Dublin, Ireland as well as the training he does for his mixed martial arts career.
Still, McGregor managed to land more punches over nine-plus rounds against Mayweather than Manny Pacquiao could muster just two years prior and the Irishman earned the respect of a lot of naysayers who believed he would just get outclassed inside three minutes.
McGregor gives Mayweather credit for the performance he had back in August and takes nothing away from earning a 50-0 record on the back of his win. That doesn’t mean McGregor can’t pick apart what he did wrong that allowed Mayweather to beat him.
“It is what it is. I got beat,” McGregor told the BBC just recently. “He’s a tactical genius in there. He changed his game plan three times, that’s the sign of a true champion. First, Philly shell, second rope-a-dope, third when both of those was getting picked at, he went Mexican style, hands up, knuckles above the eyebrows, dipped in low an just walked forward. It’s like an ugly boxing style.
Much like his first fight against Nate Diaz in 2016 when McGregor was submitted in the second round before retooling his training for the rematch that he won five months later, he knows the adjustments to make should he ever get a second shot at Mayweather.
McGregor isn’t going to pursue the fight because he knows Mayweather has drifted off to retirement, but there’s always going to be a part of him that knows how a rematch would have played out.
“If it happened in a rematch, it’s a simple adjustment of me having a heavier sparring partner coming in, in the later rounds, and lean on me and walk me down. Where as in my sparring in the lead up to the camp, we were always against fast, twitchy, light on their toes opponent with a Philly shell style and their backs against the ropes. Never against forward pressure because he’s never fought like that so it took us by surprise and I got beat,” McGregor explained.
“If I had a rematch, I would correct that and I would beat him. He’s retired. I’m not going to start calling him out of retirement. I’m going to leave him to it. If it happens, maybe it will, who knows — I would beat him no doubt.”
For now, McGregor is resigned to returning to defend his lightweight title in the UFC but he hasn’t shut the door on accepting another boxing match in the future.
The chances that he’ll get to avenge the loss to Mayweather seem rather slim but McGregor still can’t help himself but to believe he’d get the better of him.