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Thursday 23 November 2017

McGregor always has eyes on prize

Conor McGregor meets his fans in Las Vegas. Pic: AP Photo/John Locher
Conor McGregor meets his fans in Las Vegas. Pic: AP Photo/John Locher

Conor McGregor has revealed he first targeted a fight with Floyd Mayweather before he had even established himself in the UFC.

Saturday's boxing match-up has gradually been building for the past two years as interest grew in the rivalry between the two biggest figures in their respective codes.

However, even though only a year ago a fight between them appeared little more than a fantasy, for McGregor it has almost been part of a grand plan.

As a young, raw, little-known fighter in Dublin, he admired Mayweather from afar and was influenced by the American's criticism of MMA.

The 40-year-old has long been the world's leading boxer, significantly before his opponent became a professional a fighter, and McGregor said: "Originally that's what woke me up. I was a young kid listening to him talk down about the sport that I was dedicating my entire life to.

"I'm talking years back, me as a kid. Then I realised we're a similar weight, that was when he first came on my radar. I said, 'You know what, I'm going to climb up, and I'm going into different disciplines, I will get that fight'.

"Throughout time I rose up - I'm a multiple weight champion - and then it turns out he was the one who came to me. Perfect."

McGregor has also insisted a professional boxing coach would have been no use in his fight preparations.

He has sparred with, among others, boxers like the respected Paulie Malignaggi, and under the observation of boxing referee Joe Cortez, but relied on long-term coach John Kavanagh to hone his technique.

The 29-year-old said: "I've been boxing my entire life, preparing to fight my entire life."

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