Belfast’s Michael Conlan doesn’t have much interest in making the difficult transition from the boxing ring to the octagon, but if he were offered a paycheck with enough zeroes on it, the two-time Olympian could be persuaded to temporarily trade in his 8oz mitts for a pair of 4oz MMA gloves.
When asked if he would be willing to consider a jump across combat codes during a recent interview with ES News, Conlan initially answered, “No.” But following the briefest moment of contemplation, the pure prizefighter in him emerged. “Well, if they said I can go and fight someone and make $30 million to go in there and get beat,” he added, shrugging his shoulders as if to replace the words ‘then why not?’
“If I go in and land a punch, it could be over. Though, if someone gets me in a fucking lock or a hold, I’m fucked – it’s as simple as that. I don’t know any MMA defence, takedown defence, jiu-jitsu, judo and stuff.”
$30 million is exactly what Conlan’s countryman and UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor was guaranteed for his recent leap in the opposite direction. Although when all the revenue from McGregor’s boxing match with former pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. is tallied and the Irishman is handed his share, that number is likely to swell to around $100 million.
While Conlan admitted that an MMA fight is a much scarier prospect for a boxer than a boxing match is for an MMA fighter, he still praised McGregor for how he performed against arguably the greatest boxer of the last two decades.
“I think Conor impressed a lot of people. I’m sure he’s probably not happy with himself because he believed that he would win the fight, so I’m sure he’s disappointed. But he has got nothing to be disappointed about,” said the 25-year-old. “I think nobody was a loser in that fight. Conor put on a performance and showed he wasn’t the crazy noodle-arm guy that everyone was giving him stick for.”
Asked if he could see McGregor returning to the boxing ring in the future, Conlan said that his business-savvy compatriot will do so if it makes financial sense.
“If the money is right,” said the Top Rank fighter. “He is a businessman. If the money is right, he’ll come back to boxing.”
At present there seems to be plenty of interest in a fight between McGregor and his scorned ex-sparring partner Paulie Malignaggi. That interest could easily be converted into towering piles of money, but it remains to be seen if the UFC will grant their cash-cow freedom to depart upon yet another boxing odyssey.
Conlan’s own boxing odyssey continues later this month. The former world amateur champion and London Olympic bronze medalist, who was accompanied to the ring by McGregor on his own professional debut in March, will have his fourth pro outing at the Convention Center in Tuscon, Arizona on the 22nd of September. Though his opponent has yet to be confirmed, Conlan claimed in a separate ES News video that he expects to face off against a fellow undefeated fighter.
You can watch Conlan’s interview on MMA and McGregor below…