During an interview with SportsCenter last year, conducted shortly after talk of a boxing match between he and Floyd Mayweather Jr. first began in the media, Conor McGregor used a rather interesting analogy to describe the difference between training for an MMA bout and training for a boxing match.
“I’m in the game of spinning plates,” said the philosophical UFC star. “I’m spinning a boxing plate, I’m spinning a taekwondo plate, I’m spinning a jiu-jitsu plate, I’m spinning a freestyle wrestling plate, I’m spinning a karate plate. There is so many spinning plates in this game. If I was to put all those plates down and just have one plate spinning, it would be like a load off my shoulders.”
Well, based on comments that McGregor’s head coach John Kavanagh made recently, it sounds as though the taekwondo, jiu-jitsu, freestyle wrestling and karate plates have already been stacked away neatly, leaving McGregor to focus solely on a single spinning plate.
“In my mind, it’s on,” the SBG Ireland founder said of the McGregor/Mayweather fight during an interview with Fox Sports Australia. “That’s the mentality we’re in. Like you said, there’s a lot of fingers in the pie on this one. There’s different promotions, different organizations, different commissions that are involved but as far as I’m concerned, I really believe it’s going to happen this year. That’s the mindset I have.”
“Let the people in the suits worry about the paperwork. We’re training for it.”
Kavanagh’s mindset is an optimistic one, as the suits and those with their digits in the dessert could still prove to be the death of this dream. UFC president Dana White may be talking much more positively than before and McGregor may have repaired his relationship with the Nevada Atheltic Commission, something that needed to be done in order for him to be granted a licence to box in the state, but the financial negotiations are likely to be complex.
It’s also a pragmatic and sensible mindset in this situation, though. Entering into a new environment, McGregor needs all the time he can find to prepare and waiting for the bout to become official would be a mistake.
Espousing the same sentiment and, indeed, confidence apparent in his charge’s ‘spinning plates’ metaphor, however, Kavanagh said that with just a single discipline on which to focus, training for the bout will be more straight forward.
“Boxing is one of the 10 skills you need for mixed martial arts. But now we’re only doing boxing so we can drop wrestling and jiu-jitsu and Thai boxing, we can just focus on the boxing,” said the coach.
“So of course we’re getting ready to fight arguably one of the best defensive boxers of all time, but the training will become simplified cause we only have to do boxing, so it’s a new challenge I’m excited about.”
According to multiple sources consulted by Fox Sports, a date in September is most likely for the cross-codes clash. McGregor himself has stated in the recent past that September is the target, but Mayweather has also spoken of June as a possibility. The latter seems highly improbable at this point, however.