Conor McGregor stepped out of his comfort zone in 2017 when he transitioned to the sport of boxing for a showdown against undefeated legend Floyd Mayweather.
The fight was one part sideshow, one part competition but the end result was a much better contest than many expected with McGregor holding his own in the early rounds until Mayweather surged ahead to eventually earn a 10th round TKO finish.
Some believe Mayweather allowed McGregor to stick around that long to ensure ticket buyers and those purchasing the fight on pay-per-view got their money’s worth. That said, McGregor landed more shots over the course of his fight against Mayweather than Manny Pacquiao did when he had the same opportunity back in 2015.
Since that fight ended, McGregor returned to the UFC this past October in a losing effort against Khabib Nurmagomedov and while his long term goals remain getting a rematch against the undefeated Russian, he still hasn’t forgotten about Mayweather.
“I would love another go in the boxing arena,” McGregor said when talking to motivational speaker Tony Robbins on his podcast. “Floyd is known for his Philly-shell defensive style of fighting. He has his right arm tucked in, or he’s orthodox so it’s the opposite, but he has one arm tucked in by his belly and one arm kept up by his ear. He uses his shoulder to deflect shots. He’s a back footed fighter, he fights on the back foot.
“That’s what I prepared for because that is all I had seen of him. My sparring partners were fighters on the back fight, fighting defensive, back against the ropes and then when I went into the fight in the early rounds, I was whooping him in the early rounds. I actually went back to my corner after the first round and said ‘this is easy’. I literally said that to my corner man, this is easy and then he had to switch up his style.”
McGregor says once Mayweather got more aggressive with him as the rounds moved forward, he was less and less prepared to deal with that kind of attack.
“Now you’ve got to respect that. That’s what a crafty veteran can do. He can switch his style,” McGregor said about Mayweather. “He switched it to that old Mexican boxing style. Mexican boxing style is where you put your elbows in tight and this knuckle you put it just above the forehead and connect it and walk forward with heavy pressure. He never fought like that in his entire career. He was forced to fight that way cause he was getting beaten when he was fighting his old way.
“The approach caught me off guard. I was not prepared for it. I was not used to it and he walked me down and ended up getting the stoppage. The referee I felt could have let it go, I would have liked to see the end of the round, get my breathing back, get a little more comfortable.”
In the months since that fight happened, Mayweather actually teased a potential move into mixed martial arts, which was seemingly set up so he could fight McGregor again in the UFC.
In reality, no one truly believed Mayweather was going to crossover, especially at 42 years of age as one of the wealthiest athletes in the history of sports.
That’s why McGregor says he’s still ready to take another shot at Mayweather in boxing and he’s confident that the outcome would be much different this time around.
“I know he’s not going to come into my game. I would love to rematch him under boxing rules again and have that knowledge and have my sparring partners come forward with that style also and see where we go,” McGregor said.
“I believe I would win. Actually, there I go again with the fake humbleness — I know I would win.”