Conor McGregor’s loss to Nate Diaz at UFC 196 hasn’t just been the talk of the MMA community since March 5th, but of the combat sports world as a whole.
In the aftermath of McGregor’s second round submission to the Stockton native, he has received both criticism and support from all angles. Including from members of the boxing fraternity.
While Carl Frampton, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Andre Berto and Mike Tyson offered him kind words of encouragement, heavyweight champion Tyson Fury attacked “The Notorious” one, as well as his sport, with ferocity.
The latest pugilist to offer his two cents on the Dubliner’s first UFC setback is Billy Joe Saunders.
The English fighter, who beat McGregor’s countryman Andy Lee to lift the WBO middleweight strap last December, followed more closely in the footsteps of Fury by questioning the SBG product’s decision to tap.
“Notorious, right? He tapped out in 3 seconds,” said Saunders during an interview with iFL TV. “I swear to god I’d rather be choked out asleep”.
“I think he tapped out a little bit too easy. I think he tapped out a lot too easy to be fair. I’d have tried to roll over”. With thinking like that, Saunders should really be approached about a guest slot on the Gracie Breakdown.
“I’ve been choked out down the pub for longer than that” he added.
From there, the boxer and his interviewer discussed the “naked-rear choke” that ended the fight, before Saunders suggested that he would like to fight McGregor.
“I’d fight Conor McGregor. Let’s get him on the show, put him in there with a professional. 160[lbs], I’ll give him a chance at the middleweight world title. It would be good, wouldn’t it?
Seemingly under the assumption that McGregor wouldn’t be taking him up on that offer, Saunders doled out some career advice to the still reigning UFC featherweight champion.
“If I was him I’d get a rematch straight on with that fella. Try to take him out to get his reputation back because I’ll never look at him in the same light again. Because I thought….I looked at him and I thought he’s a bold Irishman. One of them that refuses to lose – would rather die than tap out. If they had asked me to put any money on it if I would ever see him tap out, I’d have probably said, the way he talks and goes on, I’d have said he’d probably go to sleep”.
After running McGregor down for several minutes, the Hatfiled fighter said “I can’t sit here and run him down”. To be fair to Saunders, he didn’t seem to be sitting.
“He’s earned loads of money. He was a plumber for fuck sake. People can’t run him down and give him grief. He’s done very well for himself. He’s put Ireland on the map all over the world. If I ever see the man, I’d shake his hand. He took defeat well”.
Saunders is set to face Ukraine’s Max Bursak on April 30th, and talk from his promoter Frank Warren suggests that he may chase a fight with Kazakh killer Gennady Golovkin thereafter.
Following this interview, there will be a lot of Conor McGregor fans hoping he lands that fight.
You can watch the entire video, in which Saunders also talks about his upcoming bout and the Amir Khan vs Saul Alvarez clash, below….