“There are no men like me, only me”
Technically that’s a quote from the hit HBO series “Game of Thrones” as spoken by Jamie Lannister, but it could just as easily be attributed to UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, who stands just six days away from the biggest fight of his career.
McGregor will face Floyd Mayweather, who returns from two years of retirement to put his perfect 49-0 record on the line in what will undoubtedly be one of the most lucrative events in the history of combat sports.
Despite seemingly long odds against him, McGregor has appeared supremely confidence in the months, weeks and finally days leading into the event.
McGregor put together a training camp that started in his native Ireland and finished at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas while working with a slew of boxers to help him get ready for Mayweather. Add to that, McGregor brought in referee Joe Cortez to oversee his sparring sessions to help the mixed martial artist adjust to the rule set in boxing.
Meanwhile, Mayweather has largely remained secluded in his own boxing facility across town with little information leaking out regarding his preparation for McGregor. Of course, Mayweather has done all of this before and he’s commented how he no longer has to train like a mad man to truly get ready for a fight after more than 20 years spent as a champion.
Still there could be an argument made that perhaps Mayweather is underestimating McGregor by not bringing in more MMA fighters to duplicate a different approach to the fight that he may face when they finally clash on Saturday night.
According to McGregor, it didn’t matter who Mayweather trained with over the past two months to get ready for him because the options are very limited when it comes to a person capable of imitating the Irishman in the ring.
“What other mixed martial artist is there like me? He’d need to reincarnate Bruce Lee and that would be the only person that he could bring in that could mimic me at what way I am coming at him,” McGregor told the Mac Life.
“I’m not like any other mixed martial artist. I’m not like any other boxer. I am in a league of my own. I will prove that Aug. 26.”
If there’s one obstacle that McGregor won’t have to overcome as he prepares to face Mayweather, it’s his own experience while performing under the brightest lights in the biggest events in the world.
Over the past few years, McGregor has become the face of combat sports while fighting in front of hundreds of thousands of fans with multi-millions more watching at home on pay-per-view. McGregor has been in the main event in his past six UFC fights while also becoming the first ever simultaneous two division champion in the history of the promotion while headlining the debut card for mixed martial arts inside Madison Square Garden in New York.
While some past opponents to face Mayweather may have been in awe of the situation or just wilted from the pressure, McGregor promises that he’s unlike anything the former multi-divisional champion has faced before in his career and that’s to his advantage.
“I’ve been in this life a long time. I’ve had these mega-fights, I’m under this spotlight a long time,” McGregor said. “A lot longer than all his other previous opponents. That’s why he’s probably feeling that will come to his aid in there but I’ve experienced this time and time again.
“Couple that with what you’re talking about, the true fights in the ring. There’s no spars here. That referee is fully kitted, point deductions, and it’s a full on fight. I’m ready.”
In the days leading up to the fight, McGregor has heard boxers, fellow MMA fighters and pundits from around the globe tell him that he has no shot to hand Mayweather his first professional loss.
That’s nothing new to him because no one believed four years ago that McGregor would be climbing into the ring with Mayweather in the first place so this is just one more occasion where he plans to make the impossible turn possible.
“We’re ready to go put on the performance of a lifetime. Of my lifetime, of my team’s lifetime,” McGregor said. “And I’m ready to go and change the face of the fight game once again.”