By Matt Citak
While the fight between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. was only announced just over two months ago, the UFC star has been preparing for this fight since he was 12-years-old. McGregor trained as a boxer for several years before deciding to focus on other martial arts when he was about sixteen. But throughout his career in MMA, McGregor continued to box on the side.
Packie Collins, the head coach of Celtic Warrior Gym in Dublin, has said in the past that McGregor would occasionally pop in to the gym and spar with some of the best fighters there. Collins was impressed with McGregor’s talent, and even said the MMA master could hold his own against some world champions. So although boxing is very different from mixed martial arts, do not think for a second that McGregor is not ready for Saturday’s showdown against Mayweather.
“I’m constantly training. I’m constantly in shape. I’m constantly thinking about fighting,” McGregor said. “As far as when you dial it in? 12 weeks. 12 weeks is when you isolate yourself and cut out the rest of the world. But I’m preparing to fight, and I have been preparing to fight since I’ve come out of my mother’s womb. You know what I mean? That’s how long I’m in fight camp.”
Last month, the two fighters embarked on a four-day, four-city press tour, including stops in Los Angeles, Toronto, New York, and London. Regardless of how you felt about the tour itself, there was one fact that not a single person could deny; Conor McGregor has style.
While Mayweather chose to mostly wear clothing promoting his lifestyle brand, The Money Team, throughout the tour, McGregor took this opportunity to show off his great sense in fashion. On the first stop, the Irishman wore a pinstripe suit with an explicit, NSFW message for his opponent. In Toronto, McGregor showed up in a sharp-looking, trim blue windowpane suit. On the third stop, McGregor strutted in wearing a white, Gucci fur coat with a three-headed snake embroidered on the back and no shirt underneath. Finally, for the last stop of the tour, the UFC legend was in a David August three-piece suit.
“I’m certainly into the fashion game. I believe I rule fighting and fashion both,” said McGregor. “This right here is my own line of clothing, the August McGregor line that we’re building up and I believe we’ll change fashion with this. I’m very into fashion and style. I believe it has a lot of similarities to fighting. It is all about the small detail. You must get it right. You can’t focus too much on the details because it can blow up in your face. It’s got to be just right. It’s been just an enjoyable part of my life, and as I’ve grown on in my financial status, I’ve been able to play with more things. Fashion is very, very close to my heart.”
Since the fight was announced, boxing experts from around the world have been discussing the probability of McGregor winning, with most believing he does not stand a chance. While the betting odds have improved recently for the MMA fighter, he is still listed as a 4-to-1 underdog against Mayweather, the undefeated champion.
Some fighters would be discouraged entering a match as such a big underdog, but that is definitely not the case with McGregor.
“I’m certainly fueled by the doubt,” said the MMA fighter-turned boxer. “I’m fueled by the love and support that I have, and I’m fueled by the people who doubt me and try to undermine my skill set and try to disrespect my discipline and my approach to fighting. These are things that motivate me.”
On paper, Saturday’s bout seems like a lopsided event. Mayweather is coming in with a career 49-0 record, while this will serve as McGregor’s first professional boxing match. One would think that would make for a big advantage for the undefeated boxer. But in the eyes of the UFC star, this will leave Mayweather guessing what McGregor might do in the ring.
“Nobody knows what I’m going to come out with,” McGregor said. “They may have a feeling. They may try and prep for it in someway. But until you’re in there with me, you can’t prepare for what I bring; my unorthodox style and my spontaneity and that’s it.
No matter who you think might win Saturday’s monumental showdown, one thing is for sure: Mayweather vs. McGregor is going to be incredibly entertaining.
Matt Citak is a producer for CBS Local Sports and a proud Vanderbilt alum. Follow him on Twitter or send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.