MANILA, Philippines – UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor stoked rumors that he is pursuing a fight with unbeaten boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr after a video was leaked of the Irish mixed martial arts fighter sparring with a pro boxer.
The 27-year-old McGregor tested out his hand skills against 28-year-old boxer Chris Van Heerden, a South Africa native with a 24-2-1 (12 knockouts) record. The work was light but Van Heerden appeared to get the better of the action due to his superior balance and jab. McGregor, whose strength as an MMA fighter lies in his striking, often posed and showboated while his feet seemed uncoordinated.
McGregor sought the boxing training of 7-time BWAA Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach, though there was no mention of preparing for a fight with Mayweather.
“They did ask me if I’ll train him. I said, ‘Sure, bring him down.’ I’d like to see [him], meet the guy and see what he has. He seems like a nice guy,” Roach told BoxingScene.
While McGregor, who has no professional boxing experience, has hinted strongly at a showdown with the 49-0 (26 KOs) Mayweather, sparring Van Heerden could also be him preparing for a rematch with Nate Diaz, a noted southpaw striker who forced McGregor to tap at UFC 196 in March.
Mayweather, who retired after decisioning Andre Berto last September, has spoken openly about returning for a 50th fight, but tells ESNews: “If I do fight, it’s only against Conor McGregor, not against nobody else.”
However, McGregor, who missed out at a chance to headline UFC 200, was due to speak with UFC executives Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta about their next move. There has been speculation that the rematch could happen at UFC 202 in August, according to UFC reporter Jeremy Botter. – Rappler.com
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