How Conor McGregor has already beaten Floyd Mayweather

Mayweather McGregor

The Notorious” never wanted to fight “Money” to be the first to beat him in the ring, Jazz Gill thinks it was something else he was after…

When Connor McGregor first discussed fighting Floyd Mayweather, in 2015 before the Irishman was even a UFC Champion, it wasn’t the undefeated boxing champion’s 0 he wanted.

In his own words, “who would not like to dance around the ring for $180 million?”. Conversely, it is not a simple pay cheque “The Notorious” is after either, despite what he said on The Conan O’Brien Show twoyears ago.

Perhaps it was always on Mcgregor’s mind or maybe Conan O’Brien implanted the idea in his head during that very moment on live TV when he asked about the fight. Regardless of how it happened, somewhere in the last few years “The Notorious” has realised what he could take from Mayweather is the mantle of being the biggest pay-per-view (PPV) star the world has ever seen.

This week, as the two are set to share a stage for the first time, McGregor will prove he has already beaten Mayweather in this regard too. What perhaps Mayweather may have missed, is that by giving McGregor this fight, he has already made the UFC Champion as big a star as he is and that is what Connor always wanted. The proof will be in the numbers but time is on McGregor’s side.

Mayweather Ortiz McGregor

Right now, Floyd “Money” Mayweather is unquestionably still the bigger attraction in the centuries old show business that is prize-fighting. However, Mayweather is 40 years old and is coming out of retirement for the third time. The mantle of world’s biggest PPV star was always going to pass on. Yet no one – least of all Mayweather – thought it would go to anyone, at least this soon anyway, that could beat all his own records; biggest TV audience for a pay-per-view fight, biggest gate receipt in combat sports history, highest grossing event, etc, etc.

Mayweather – after what is certain to be his last fight against McGregor – will be leaving behind an unprecedented platform of PPV potential. Mayweather boxing shows have become something of a cross between the Super Bowl and The Oscars. Everyone wants to tune in to them. People talk about the fights for months and every part of the build up becomes viral viewing.

McGregor has been creating a similar hype around his fights but was yet to reach “Money” status. In the process of using McGregor for his easiest and biggest payday ever, Mayweather has inadvertently given him a hand up to get on this level.

Mayweather McGregor

Getting the opportunity to face the greatest challenge in modern boxing, without even ever having any boxing experience, has made McGregor a living sporting miracle, perceived as being capable of anything. Being involved in this contest has cemented Connor McGregor as one of the biggest sports stars in history. He does not play the same role that the likes of Marcos Maidana or Andre Berto did against Mayweather. McGregor does not face Mayweather as a mere boxing opponent, he faces him as a competing brand, looking to swallow all the commercial appeal at stake and take it forward with him into the next part of his career. Millions of casual sports fans that watched Mayweather for his status as a legitimate all-time-great performing in this era will from August 26 onwards be watching McGregor. Whatever he does from there will have the attention of the entire sporting world, its celebrity bandwagon and their army of adoring followers.

This is a win for McGregor, for MMA and for the UFC. For Mayweather, it will be a hard pill to swallow, as one of his most satisfying accomplishments has always been becoming the biggest PPV star in the world. Lucky for Mayweather, he will have another $100m+ in the bank and a nicely rounded 50-0 record to ease the sting.

This shift of star-power is what McGregor has been aiming for all along. That is why McGregor acted like he had cleared out a division and flat out refused to defend his title after becoming the UFC Lightweight Champion last year. In near calculated fashion, McGregor put the UFC in a position of being unable to bargain with him. As the reigning UFC Featherweight and Lightweight Champion – the first person to ever hold two UFC titles simultaneously, McGregor had the MMA credentials on paper he now needed to be able to validate his choice as a Mayweather opponent.

The truth is, McGregor has never proven himself the outright best in the MMA world, not pound-for-pound like Mayweather has in boxing. He has proven exciting, spectacular, a masterful MMA striker and lots more. But he has never reigned like Jon Jones, Anderson Silva or any of MMA’s other most celebrated elite level champions. McGregor has never even defended any of the titles he has won with the UFC.

McGregor had a lot of hugely interesting and difficult options to defend either UFC title against. Having only won one of his last three fights in clear fashion (considering in between a win and a loss he had the ultra close rematch vs Nate Diaz which many felt he lost), no MMA fan would say McGregor had surpassed any possible challenges in the UFC and had only a foray into boxing left as a test. Certainly, the likes of Max Holloway, Frankie Edgar, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Tony Ferguson and of course Nate Diaz would all attest to that.

Nevertheless, as emphasised by the question from Conan O’Brien before McGregor had even won the interim UFC Featherweight title, the Irishman has the kind of status that made him a viable fight for anyone (within sizeable reason, although don’t be surprised to see McGregor call out Anthony Joshua soon). People just want to see McGregor perform, both in the press conferences (where he is undefeatable) and in the cage (where is unarguably one of the best in the world). So knowing he would have public backing for the fight, McGregor pursued the Mayweather fight.

If McGregor were truly interested in actually beating Mayweather in a boxing match, he would not be jumping in to the fight after only a few months of boxing training. He would have considered at least a warm up fight, to come to terms with the differences between the sports. There is video footage of him looking like the boxing novice that he is, sparring against former boxing world champion Chris Van Heerden sometime last year. McGregor simply cannot have improved enough in the last year to be able to give himself a real chance to beat Mayweather in a boxing match. Although it is fair to say he would need a lifetime to be able to get to a level to be able to beat Mayweather, to put it into perspective, McGregor will have been training solely on boxing for at most six months, without even a warm-up bout.

The lack of adequate preparation needed to win a fight against someone of Mayweather’s standing (without even getting into the nuances of Mayweather’s specific style which need to be considered) does not mean McGregor will not try to win and give it his all. It is just a clear indication McGregor, who has proclaimed himself to have a “PHD in human movement”, is not solely focused on winning the fight.

Image result for conor mcgregor

So how does McGregor win the battle he is really focused on and become the bigger PPV star? Through his most undefeatable asset, his press conference persona.

McGregor will be telling the world that MMA is the truer fight sport and boxing has more rules in order to keep people safe from killers like him. He will mock Floyd’s style, he will criticise the sport of boxing for championing a style which is often regarded as boring. He will leave Floyd Mayweather reeling with his verbal assault at the press conferences.

Then, when the fight happens and bar a true sporting miracle Mayweather dismantles McGregor, the Irishman will berate boxing for his lack of success, blaming its rules which allows success for fighters being defensive.

With McGregor looking so ferocious and confident in press conferences, and then so ponderous and lost in the ring against Mayweather, fans will pine to see “The Notorious” back in his element, in an MMA cage.

The UFC will be banking on this too and are already dropping hints about a massive fight for McGregor in Russia against the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov for his comeback. Everyone who heard McGregor talk about the more dangerous and less restricted fight sport of MMA during his build up to fight Mayweather will be guaranteed to tune in to see how he does in his MMA comeback.

That is when the PPV numbers will come in and that is when we will see that McGregor had Mayweather beaten at this game from the moment the two agreed to fight.


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