On Saturday August 26, UFC lightweight world champion Conor McGregor will step out of the Octagon and into the boxing ring, as he meets five-division world champion Floyd Mayweather in a 12-round super welterweight boxing match. Ahead of the unprecedented event, which will air live on Sky Sports Box Office, a selection of fighters from the UFC roster share their thoughts on what is set to be one of the biggest fights in combat sports history. Here is what they had to say:
“I think Conor’s only real chance could be his unpredictability. Mayweather has struggled with more awkward opponents so if Conor can bring a more awkward style to the table, that maybe Mayweather hasn’t seen, and maintain that for 12 rounds, that would be his only glimmer of hope for me”.
Joe Duffy, UFC lightweight
“I think McGregor will get inside Mayweather’s head and he is going to shock the world. I think he is going to knock him out early. I wouldn’t be surprised though if it goes the full distance and Mayweather wins. My prediction is McGregor to win via TKO”.
Stevie Ray, UFC lightweight
“Originally, I thought Mayweather was going to destroy him. He is an untouched boxer and is 49-0. One of the best boxers ever. The more I watch McGregor, though, he draws you in and makes you believe he has that ability, so my opinion has changed. I think the fight will be 100 miles an hour from the first bell and McGregor will get the victory”.
Paul Craig, UFC light heavyweight
“There’s always a possibility when you have punching power like Conor McGregor but we don’t know how that left-hand will land when he has boxing gloves on. Floyd Mayweather doesn’t think offensively, he thinks defensively and McGregor is the opposite. Mayweather is the best the world, so there are going to be traps that McGregor will need to avoid. The Irishman needs to use a lot of feigns so he can draw those attacks out of Mayweather before he falls for them. It’s the element of unpredictability that McGregor brings to the table that intrigues me most. That’s what makes this fight so interesting”.
Dan Hardy, UFC welterweight and commentator
“I’m not saying it’s a mismatch because Conor is an amazing fighter but Floyd is 49-0 and Conor has never boxed before. Conor doesn’t move like a boxer though. His unorthodox style might well be his biggest advantage in this fight.”
Michael Bisping, UFC middleweight champion
“I think it will be an awesome fight. Anything can happen. I think Conor can win within the first three rounds maybe. I think he can beat Mayweather”.
Amanda Nunes, UFC women’s bantamweight champion
“Of course, Mayweather is one of the greatest athletes and he is one of the best boxers of all time but Conor’s mental game is on a different level. He can win. King Conor”.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk, UFC women’s strawweight champion
“I think you can tell that the fans are more on McGregor’s side. I think Mayweather has something unlikable about him but he is a formidable boxer, with a great record and I’m looking forward to the fight. I’m a UFC fighter so of course I’m going for Conor. It would be awesome if he could cause an upset.
Alistair Overeem, #1 UFC heavyweight
“Mayweather wins for sure. I think in the fight Mayweather will play with Conor. I don’t see Conor landing a single punch”.
Fabricio Werdum, #2 UFC heavyweight
“I think that a lot of boxing fans are looking at Conor like he has never boxed and they are writing him off like he has never boxed. He can box though, so he understands boxing. His chance will be in the first four rounds and I think that Conor can put Floyd away and land a punch. If it goes past the fourth round and gets into the fifth, sixth, seventh and it becomes a technical boxing match, I think it could look one sided and Floyd could win by TKO. Anything before that, though, is Conor’s time”.
Eddie Alvarez, #3 UFC lightweight
“I think that Floyd is not just a better boxer but a smarter fighter, a championship level fighter. He is the better boxer but sometimes being better just isn’t enough because Conor will hit him with some unpredictable shots. Floyd has never fought a fighter like Conor or someone with that type of movement. Floyd is preparing well though and with the right game plan, comes the victory”.
Kevin Lee, #7 UFC lightweight
“Conor has got the ability to surprise a lot of people. He is fighting Floyd Mayweather though, who is the best of the best. Defensively, I think Mayweather can slow the fight down. He can make it a decision, avoid getting hit and make it look easy. I think that’s probably how it will go.”
Al Iaquinta, #11 UFC lightweight
“I’m obviously with Conor. His style is completely different to what Mayweather has ever faced and it will be a big problem for him. I’m looking forward to seeing Conor landing that left hand. It will be sooner rather than later – within the first three rounds”.
Gunnar Nelson, #11 UFC welterweight
I think it’s good for MMA fighters, especially if Conor can go in there – win lose or draw – and put on a show. If he wins then MMA is going to be sitting on a crown and Conor will be the king. You have to give the advantage to Floyd because of his boxing experience but I’m rooting for McGregor. If I had to bet I would say it will be a decision for Mayweather but I’m hoping Conor wins”.
Paul Felder, UFC lightweight
“Mayweather is the better boxer but McGregor has the reach, he is younger, hungrier and he is a southpaw. There are lot of if’s and but’s, but one punch from McGregor can be enough to end the fight”.
Emil Meek, UFC welterweight
Sky Sports Box Office will air Mayweather vs. McGregor exclusively live on Saturday, August 26. Book now at www.skysports.com/mayweathermcgregor