McGregor on Mayweather: ‘He needs me, I don’t need him’

MANILA, Philippines – UFC featherweight titleholder Conor McGregor declares that he won't back out on any challenge, including a potential crossover bout against unbeaten American boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Fervent buzz of pitting the Irish mixed martial arts superstar with boxing’s former pound-for-pound king started to swirl following a report by British outlet The Sun earlier this month.

Since the news broke out, both men kept on fanning the flames of a projected showdown on New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Sitting down with Showtime's Steve Farhood over a week ago, the 39-year-old native of Grand Rapids, Michigan made the contemplated boxing match with the 27-year-old Irishman sound like a real possibility. 

Meanwhile, McGregor stoked speculations by sharing a mock-up fight poster with Mayweather on his Twitter feed.

MMA Vs Boxing. pic.twitter.com/qgl8tKvT5s — Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) May 8, 2016

In an interview with ESPN, McGregor went into detail about his rumored in-ring meeting with Mayweather for the first time. 

"I'm committed to the fight game. I enjoy competition. I enjoy challenges. If a challenge is in front of me and it appeals to me, I will go ahead and conquer it,” he said. 

According to a report by TMZ, Mayweather already extended a $50 million offer to McGregor's camp, which is half of what the celebrated boxer is expected to receive to come out of retirement.

However, McGregor revealed that he was not getting a fair slice of the pie with Mayweather as the initial offer was only $7 million. 

“I hear the boy (Mayweather) talking. The leak came out. It was him that leaked the rumor. I said, ‘He gets $100 million, I get $7 million. That’s a pay cut to me. I don’t take pay cuts. I thought boxing is where the money is at.’ The $7 million is absolutely laughable. He’s talking $100 million, I’m also talking $100 million. I’m 27 years of age and I’m just about halfway to a $100 million contract. At 27 years of age, Floyd Mayweather was on Oscar De La Hoya’s undercard,” he exposed. 

McGregor believes that Mayweather desires to stay relevant in the combat scene at his expense. 

“He needs me. I don’t need him. That’s the truth of it. Who else can he fight? He fights someone else in the boxing realm and all of a sudden the pay goes from $100 million to $15 million. So he needs me. If he wants to talk, we can talk. But it’s me who is in control here,” he stated. 

The UFC featherweight champion has no qualms about trading punches with Mayweather, who is a 5-division world champion in boxing. 

“I don’t really care about rules. He can make all the rules he wants. I know he would not want to fight in a mixed martial arts contest — in a true fight. He’d want to fight in a limited fight. It’s no problem. We can do that,” McGregor shared. 

Similar to in-ring tacticians such as Willie Pep, Wilfredo Benitez and Pernell Whitaker, Mayweather is known for his distinctive brand of defensive guile, utilizing his shoulder roll, high-guard and elbow block to get rid of the shots from his opponents. 

In addition, Mayweather is recognized as a minimal-but-accurate hitter, clobbering his counterparts with a drop jab, leaning right hand and inside slap hook. 

“I’m in the game of spinning plates. 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. A karate plate. There’s so many spinning plates in this game. If I was to just put all them down and have one boxing plate spinning, it would be like a load off my shoulders,” McGregor said about his match-up with Mayweather. – Rappler.com