Conor McGregor expanding on boxing background ahead of Floyd Mayweather fight

New York , United States - 17 March 2017; UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor during an interview in The Theater in Madison Square Garden in New York, USA. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
New York , United States - 17 March 2017; UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor during an interview in The Theater in Madison Square Garden in New York, USA. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images) /

Conor McGregor has already proven to be one of the UFC’s very best, but he’s currently focused on proving that he’s capable of becoming a boxer with enough talent to tangle with Floyd Mayweather

The very first time that fans of the UFC caught a glimpse of an Irish southpaw named Conor McGregor, he was picking apart Marcus Brimage with an entertaining boxing-based attack while happily absorbing whatever offense his opponent could offer. Visibly confident and oddly comfortable in the pocket, McGregor instantly earned a reputation as an Octagon knockout artist with a pair of undeniably dangerous hands after that impressive performance.

But there’s a big difference between being one of MMA’s best strikers and having the skills to succeed against a former boxing champion like Floyd Mayweather. With mere months to prepare for his upcoming fight against Mayweather, McGregor has been working around the clock in an attempt to become the deadly boxer that most claim he’ll never be.

Fortunately for the Emerald Isle’s favorite son, McGregor is no stranger to the sport of boxing. From an early age, his boxing skills were polished and sharpened by two-time Olympian Phil Sutcliffe at the Crumlin Boxing Club in McGregor’s hometown, giving him a sound base of knowledge and fundamentals to build upon. And rather than being guided by SBG boss John Kavanagh as he does for his MMA bouts, McGregor is currently under the tutelage of striker extraordinaire, longtime friend and former UFC hopeful Owen Roddy.

Of course, selecting the right sparring partners has been critical to McGregor’s training camp. Bringing valuable experience, former UFC’er and pro boxer Dashon Johnson was called in to help McGregor prepare due mainly to the fact that he helped Manny Pacquiao get ready for his 2015 fight with Mayweather. While his time in the UFC was brief, Johnson has 47 pro bouts under his belt as a boxer, and the knowledge he gained from helping prepare Pacquiao could prove priceless to the UFC standout.

Along with Johnson, McGregor also called upon experienced Irish amateur boxer Tiernan Bradley due to his uncanny ability to replicate Mayweather’s fighting style, playing a key role that few could fill. Despite a lack of experience on the professional level, Irish pro boxer Jay Byrne was added to the team to give the UFC champ some quality rounds, while undefeated pro Louis Adolphe has helped McGregor by providing him with a technically sound sparring partner who’s known for both speed and footwork.

Since moving his training camp to the United States, McGregor has called upon a different group of sparring partners that briefly included former pro Paulie Malignaggi and may soon include Vasyl Lomachenko. With the exception of Malignaggi’s comments following his sudden departure from the Irishman’s training camp, inside information on McGregor’s sparring sessions is hard to come by these days. But after going toe-to-toe with the dangerous southpaw in training camp, Bradley had some interesting things to say about McGregor’s ability in the ring.

“Conor is a very good boxer,” Bradley told MMA Fighting. “He doesn’t move like any other boxer. He’s powerful, fast and light on his feet, he’s very good at getting in and out and connecting. He’s so quick on his feet it’s very hard to judge the distance with him.”

“It’s very different to any style I’ve seen over the years,” said Bradley. “He has this strange style and he can keep going at a serious pace for 12 rounds. He’s on his toes and he’s constantly keeping you guessing.”

Next: 30 little-known facts about Conor McGregor

While Pacquiao has proclaimed that the Irishman “has no chance” against the undefeated boxer, ESPN boxing analyst Max Kellerman has said that McGregor “will not land a single punch” on Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya has labeled the fight a “circus”. The fact remains that nobody really knows what to expect on Aug.26.

But we do know McGregor’s history. We know that he was told the success he had fighting under the Cage Warriors’ banner would never translate to the UFC. We know that very few people thought he’d get past Jose Aldo to win the featherweight title. We know that he beat the odds to become the UFC’s first two-division champion. And above all else, we know that McGregor has made a career out of accomplishing the seemingly impossible and proving millions wrong in the process.

Everything you need to know about how to live stream McGregor’s big-money bout against Mayweather to watch online can be found right here.