The bout has not been signed or officially announced, but McGregor's coach, John Kavanagh, recently said that his fighter has begun training for the fight as if it is a go. And in Kavanagh's mind, it is a go.
“In my mind, it’s on. That’s the mentality we’re in,” Kavanagh said when appearing on “Bill and Boz” on Fox Sports News 500 in Australia. “There’s a lot of fingers in the pie in 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 that I have. Let the people in the suits worry about the paperwork; we’re training for it.”
McGregor is considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world, having become the UFC's first champion to hold titles in two different weight classes simultaneously. He's fought at featherweight, lightweight, and welterweight. But that was all mixed martial arts. Now, if the fight comes to fruition, he'll be charged with challenging one of the greatest boxers of all time on his own turf.
Mayweather is 49-0 since making his professional boxing debut in 1996. He's held numerous titles, in numerous weight classes, and fought the best the boxing world has to offer.
Kavanagh, however, believes that he and McGregor are up to the task. For one thing, they will be able to focus on one discipline instead of the multiple styles that MMA requires.
“I said a quote that was kind of taken out of context. I said it would be simpler training for boxing. And what I mean is that boxing is one of the 10 skills you need for mixed martial arts,” said Kavanagh. “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.
“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 because we will only have to do boxing. It’s a new challenge, I’m excited about it.”
If the fight with Mayweather happens, it will be the biggest payday of McGregor's career. That fight alone would likely dwarf his entire earnings for 2016, which was a banner year for McGregor, in which he has boasted earning somewhere in the range of $40 million.
So what's left for him in the UFC if he fights Mayweather? Will he simply move on?
Kavanagh has addressed the matter before, and his opinion hasn't changed. Even if McGregor boxes Mayweather, we haven't seen the last of him in the Octagon.
“He's 28, which is young for the fight game, especially the way he lives his life. He's clean living. He's not going anywhere soon. He could retire now and even with his excessive spending, he still will be okay for the rest of his life. Or he could do movies and make a lot more money without being hit in the face. What motivates him is the same as what it was 10 years ago. He loves the sport, he loves the thrill of competition, his body is in great shape, so we're not going anywhere anytime soon,” Kavanagh stated.
“I've said it before, I think when fighting is done, Conor's going to disappear. He could be on the front page of the papers every day if he so chose if he just put out a tweet, I'm gonna be appearing here. The press would be there. It's not what he's into, so I just think he'll disappear when he's done.”