What’s Next for McGregor?

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For many boxing followers, it was very absurd to pitch a Mixed Martial Arts fighter against a conventional boxer, little wonder, very few were convinced that MMA superstar-Conor McGregor would last the rounds against Floyd Mayweather when both took to the ring at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas last Saturday. True to type, the UFC star buckled in the 10th round, which brings the question-what next for McGregor?

With the bigger gloves it was more difficult to land that big shot. There were too many things in Mayweather’s favour inside a boxing ring. McGregor brought chaos but Mayweather was able to control it.

He needs to learn to pace himself better over 12 rounds because it’s very, very different to mixed martial arts. For example, Mayweather controls the investment of power in his punches. Every punch McGregor threw in the first two rounds was with power

Mayweather would throw four or five punches, then the sixth is a power shot. That’s why McGregor’s energy expenditure goes. If McGregor throws 200 power punches, Floyd can throw 400 punches in the same time.

McGregor has thanked the fans and everyone involved with his recent superfight against Mayweather, while also suggesting the boxing great has the skills to compete in MMA.

McGregor also congratulated Mayweather, admitting that as well as being a “heck of a boxer” he’s also “certainly a solid fighter”.

Mayweather admitted he was surprised by McGregor in the early rounds, with the Irishman starting quickly. But the Notorious was also full of praise for the 40-year-old.

“Congrats to Floyd on a well fought match. Very experienced and methodical in his work. I wish him well in retirement. He is a heck of a boxer. His experience, his patience and his endurance won him this fight hands down,” he wrote.

He added: “He has some very strong tools he could bring into an MMA game for sure.”

McGregor believes that in the 10 weeks he had to prepare for the fight from which he’s expected to pocket $100 million – his camp did everything to the best of their ability.

“Getting to 12 rounds alone in practice was always the challenge in this camp,” he wrote.

“We started slowly getting to the 12 and decreasing the stress in the rounds the closer it got to 12. I think for the time we had, 10 weeks in camp, it had to be done this way.”

The 10 rounds McGregor lasted were the longest he’s ever spent in the cage or ring, being used to five five-minute rounds in MMA – but after taking a few days to reflect it appears he’s ready for the next challenge.

The 29-year-old is widely expected to return to UFC, where he has world titles to defend. But given how he masterminded one of combat sports’ biggest ever fights, who’s to say what’s next?

Meanwhile, McGregor said he would take time to consider his “many options” after his excursion into boxing ended in defeat to Mayweather.

McGregor had some success early on against a watchful Mayweather, but the MMA superstar ultimately proved no match in a ring for boxing’s self-proclaimed Best Ever.

A halt was called in the 10th round in Las Vegas, despite the pleas of an exhausted McGregor to see the final bell, but the Irishman’s performance was enough to earn the praise of ring royalty such as Lennox Lewis and George Foreman.

Asked at the post-fight press conference whether boxing on is an option, McGregor said: “I’m not sure what’s next. I have multiple world titles in the UFC to think about as well as the boxing.

“I’m a student of the game and I’ve studied Floyd and it was an honour to share the ring with him. I will get back into my jiu-jitsu and freestyle wrestling training and we will see what’s next. I have many options in the sport of MMA.”

Many had predicted an early embarrassment for the boxing novice, but he said: “I’m a multiple-weight freestyle world champion and I was a little bit surprised at the disrespect I was shown. The disrespect for my skill took me back a little bit.”

There was no disrespect between the two combatants at the end, Mayweather admitting he had been given trouble than he anticipated.

And McGregor said of the American: “You’re a composed individual. You didn’t get rattled; you made three game changes during the fight and that’s what a true champion does.

“I would have liked to see the end of the 10th and where it brought us, but he’s one hell of a competitor.

“I thought I put him out there and hit him a few times but then he started reading it and he began parrying a lot. I enjoyed the fight; it was a great contest and I’ll take a lot of stuff with me into my training.”

McGregor however believes that the referee jumped in too early to stop his fight and he should have been allowed to fight on.

The Notorious produced a valiant performance against Money but was ultimately outclass by the boxing great, who, in his final fight, now moves to a record-breaking 50-0.

McGregor did start the cross-code showdown the better of the pair, but as the fight reached its second half the UFC superstar faded quickly and was stopped on his feet by referee Robert Byrd in the 10th.

Speaking after his stoppage defeat, McGregor admitted that he was tiring, but he would have liked Byrd to let him at least hit the canvas before waving off the contest.

“I would have liked the ref to let me keep going. I was a little fatigued, but let me go down, let’s see how things play out,” McGregor said. “I’ve been strangled on live TV before and came back.

“There’s a lot on the line here, let me keep going. He had a lot more experience and I have to give it to him, that’s what 50 pro fights will give you. “Being wobbly and fatigued, that’s energy, that’s not damage, I’m clear headed.

 Interestingly, McGregor has suggested Floyd Mayweather has the skills to transition into MMA.

UFC champion McGregor was beaten in the 10th round of his boxing debut by Mayweather last weekend in Las Vegas and has now paid tribute to his conqueror.

“I always told him he was not a fighter but a boxer,” McGregor posted on Instagram. “But sharing the ring with him he is certainly a solid fighter.

“Strong in the clinch. Great understanding of frames and head position. He has some very strong tools he could bring into an MMA game for sure.

“Very experienced and methodical in his work. I wish him well in retirement. He is a heck of a boxer. His experience, his patience and his endurance won him this fight hands down.”

Mayweather insisted his 50th consecutive win will definitely be his last, while McGregor remains the UFC lightweight champion.

However, McGregor has overtaken Cristiano Ronaldo in Forbes’ latest rich list for athletes after pocketing almost £80m (€86.1m, $103.6m) following his bout with Mayweather. The Irishman was stopped in the 10th round, as his professional boxing debut ended in defeat. However, the UFC star can console himself with his share of the fight’s purse, which was reportedly worth £77m.

The figure will put the Dubliner ahead of Ronaldo, whose annual earnings stood at £71m this year, making him the world’s highest-paid athlete in the world, ahead of Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James and Barcelona icon Lionel Messi.

When Ronaldo and McGregor met last year in a gym the Irishman uses for training, the latter told the Real Madrid star he would soon surpass him at the top of the list.

“You (Ronaldo) were number one on the Forbes list, I was like number 35 or something,” McGregor said. “I’ll get up. Maybe next year I’ll get you.”

Ronaldo, however, dismissed the claim and replied: “I don’t think so.”

The list is calculated by adding together salaries, bonuses and endorsements, including revenue from sponsorships and appearance fees, but agent fees are not counted. Furthermore, athletes who are inactive for 12 months are removed from the list.

Despite his bumper paycheck, McGregor will not top the list, with Mayweather set to claim the number one spot amid reports his share of the purse from last Saturday’s fight was worth an eye-watering £233m.

The American, who walked away from the sport with a 50-0 record, said the fight with McGregor lived up to all expectations and broke the previous pay-per-view record that he shared with Manny Pacquiao.

“We broke all the pay-per-view records,” he said at the post-fight press conference. “You will never see me in the ring again. I wanted to break records and do different things. And tonight we broke the Mayweather-Pacquiao record for pay-per-view buys.”

However, the Irishman will overtake a number of elite athletes, including Roger Federer, Kevin Durant, Rory McIlroy and Lewis Hamilton.

Furthermore, with Mayweather set to retire from boxing, McGregor will fancy securing top spot soon enough, given his high profile in the UFC circuit and the possibility of him stepping back into the boxing ring.