In dream matchup, McGregor could dominate Mayweather



McGregor and Mayweather two of the biggest superstars in fighting could potentially fight each other.

By Andreas Saetersdal, Staff Writer

Conor “Notorious” McGregor and Floyd “Money” Mayweather are two of the biggest mouths in the history of sports. Recently, they’ve taken aim at each other as Mayweather compared himself to an “elephant” and the Irishman to an “ant.” McGregor fired back at the boxing superstar telling him to say that to his face, sparking more tension between the fighters.

McGregor recently applied for and received a boxing license in the state of California. That, coupled with all this back and fort, has fight fans salivating over the possibility of a McGregor-Mayweather matchup.

While a fight between these two loudmouths will probably never happen, if it did, it would be one of the biggest fight events ever. And McGregor would best Mayweather in MMA (not surprisingly) and also in the boxing ring (stunning the world). In an ideal world, if this were a two-fight matchup, one in MMA and one in boxing, McGregor has the edge because he is in his prime, faster and more precise with his hands.

McGregor is the first Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter to be champion simultaneously in two weight divisions: lightweight (155 pounds) and featherweight (145 pounds). He is now the lightweight champion in the UFC as he recently relinquished his featherweight title. Mayweather is undefeated 49-0 and a five-division boxing world champion. They are the biggest superstars in their respective sports and both hold the pay-per-view record in their own sport. A match between the two would be a spectacular fight with the potential to be the biggest and most watched fighting event of all time and even surpass Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao, which generated an astonishing 4.6 million PPV buys according to HBO/showtime. It would be a fight any boxing, mixed martial arts, and casual sports fans around the world would find entertaining.  

If McGregor were to step into Mayweather’s boxing world the fight would most likely happen at a weight of 145-155 pounds. The Irishman would no longer have access to his 4-inch UFC gloves and would have to settle for 12 inch boxing gloves. In boxing there are 12 rounds of three minutes instead of the UFC’s 3 or 5 rounds (five rounds for a championship fight or main event) of 5 minutes each. The most crucial rule change is that only striking with the fists is allowed in a boxing fight and McGregor can not use his impressive kicks and grappling repertoire.

Even with a lot of setbacks before the fight has taken place, I still think McGregor will win. McGregor has a large frame and a 74-inch reach, while Mayweather has a reach of only 72 inches. That gives the Irishman a small reach advantage. Reach advantage is important for McGregor because his fighting style relies on ring control and controlling the distance to his opponents. Mayweathers shorter reach leaves him more exposed to McGregor’s left hand, which is known to put people to sleep. However Mayweather is known for his world class defensive shoulder rolls and is an expert of “rollin with the punches,” which could make it difficult for McGregor to hit him with real power. Even so, I think McGregor’s reach could be problematic for Mayweather and cause unexpected trouble for the boxing star.

McGregor is currently only 28 years old and is in his prime. In his last eight fights at lightweight/featherweight he has had an impressive seven TKOs and one decision. On the other hand, Mayweather will soon turn 40 and the last time he knocked out somebody was nine years ago in 2007, when he beat Ricky Hatton the welterweight (147 pounds) world champion (I do not include the highly controversial knockout Mayweather had against Victor Ortiz in 2011). Closing in on 40 and not having knocked anybody out in nine years means that I do not see Mayweather having the power to knock McGregor out. McGregor, on the other hand, just recently knocked out the lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, who had only been knocked out once, nine years ago, in his 32 professional fights.

The 12-inch boxing gloves is one of the bigger factors in this fight because it benefits both fighters. Bigger gloves for Mayweather means he can absorb more of McGregor ferocious left hand and utilize his jab counter punching to score points. This is good for Mayweather because boxing is scored on points which he can get for punches landed. That means even if McGregor lands the bigger/harder punches, Mayweather could out “box or “point” McGregor to win. The bigger gloves are also beneficial to McGregor. Although Mayweather is the better boxer, the bigger gloves are softer and it would allow the Irishman to survive longer in the ring.

On paper Mayweather is by far the better boxer. There is no denying that, but McGregor is one of the best knockout artists of all time in the UFC and anyone who has seen one of his fights knows he always finds his opponent chin. It would be a very interesting stylistic matchup as Mayweather is an orthodox (right hand puncher) and a defensive counter puncher, while McGregor is a southpaw (left hand puncher) and a offensive counter puncher. This means that both fighters will play into each others fighting style and allow the opponent to utilize their skill set to their strengths.

McGregor is an expert at moving forward and setting up traps for his opponents. He lures his opponents by making them think he is attacking. When they lean in to counter attack, he counters them. Mayweather wants his opponent to move forward so he can lure them into his defensive counter punching. This aspect of the fight slightly favours McGregor because this will give him the time he needs to set up his traps and precise left hand. Mayweather will constantly have to deal with the pressure and accuracy of the Irishman without having any real threat like a knockout punch as a response.

As a result a young confident Irishman in his prime would put up a spectacular fight against 40-year-old Mayweather and would steal a win.

If this fight took place inside the Octagon in the UFC, kicks, elbows, and wrestling would be allowed. In an pure MMA fight with kicks, elbows and wrestling allowed, I do not see this fight lasting for long.

Mayweather is a world-class boxer who is a specialist at one particular form of fighting, which is limited to striking. He is excellent at counter punching and defending his upper body from punches. The problem is that he has no wrestling, jiu jitsu, muay thai, or kickboxing experience. He has little or minimal experiences protecting himself from takedowns, checking kicks, and chokes. Mayweather is not used to getting kicked or wrestled and that is something one can not learn in a short time span. While McGregor has been a specialist and a professional in all these forms of fighting for years.

There has also been an attempt by another boxer to step inside the octagon and into the MMA world. Most recently James Toney a heavyweight world champion boxer thought he could step into the octagon and beat up Randy Couture in 2010. Couture was the former UFC light- heavyweight (205 pounds) and heavyweight (225 pounds) champion. Toney was convinced he could win , but Couture easily took him down and submitted him by an arm-triangle choke three minutes into the first round. That single performance by Couture showed the world that boxers have no business inside the octagon without years of training elbows, kicks, grappling, and ground and pound.  

Mayweather has too much to learn to be able to compete against McGregor in an MMA fight. There are too many tools, skills and new defensive techniques that Mayweather would have to incorporate into his fighting style. This mean that McGregor would have his way with Mayweather inside the octagon just as Couture did with Toney. The transition from MMA to boxing requires much less drastic change because striking/boxing is a big part of MMA. Going from boxing to MMA is a much bigger transition since elbows, kicks, and wrestling are not part of boxing and would require a completely new skill set that Mayweather would have to learn.

Ultimately I would love to see Mayweather and McGregor in the boxing ring. We can only hope it happens as it could potentially be the biggest fight of all time and it would go down as a historic moment in the history of fighting.