Wallace, McGregor’s boxing trainer, says McGregor can do well in boxing.
You could tell he watches professional boxing very closely and he was always showing you stuff on his phone. I really can’t see why not, because it’s not just a thing that happened over night. With him having the amateur background from when he was younger, when he boxed in the Crumlin Boxing Club, which is a gym that has a lot of professionals in it, he must have just kept that hunger for it. Plus, he could make millions from it, and money talks. It would be really interesting and great to see. Whether it happens or not is another thing. Personally, I’d love to see it…A lot of people have criticised him, but he’s just been doing boxing around twice a week, because he’s got to think about the jiu-jitsu and the wrestling. If he’s doing rounds five days a week, the only thing he can do is get better. A lot people have been very quick to run him down, but once he puts his mind to something he does it, and he does get the results…[Conor’s] tricky, hard to hit, and a good mover, but it would be about learning to slip more punches. Also, with the bigger glove, it gives you a bigger target. If he got a good camp behind him, concentrated solely on boxing five or six times a week, who knows where he could go to.
Wallace talks about training with McGregor, taking the place of Nate Diaz in sparring sessions.
I couldn’t believe it when I heard at the time. I thought he [Conor McGregor] was joking, then I rang Mick [Michael Conlan] straight away and asked him if he was winding me up. But when I found out it wasn’t a joke I replied back to tell him I’d be delighted to go…We mainly did two sessions a day, it was well structured and I was mainly used on the boxing days…I’m a lot sharper than Diaz, it’s plain to be seen. He’s slow and sluggish but it’s his fitness and toughness that wins him a lot of his fights. But I watched a lot of his footage, his big long one-two and a kind of slap hook catching as the opponent comes in. I tried to mimic him the best I could to help McGregor deal with it…[Conor] couldn’t thank us enough for the work that we had done. Because when people were watching the fight, it was more like a boxing match rather than MMA.
UFC releases a second trailer for Bad Blood, showing McGregor sparring with southpaws, including Wallace.
I’m certainly preparing a lot more specific. Usually, I don’t prepare specific, because they always pull out, every time. I know Nate will show up. This time I know this fight will go down. This time I know I’ll be facing a tall, lanky southpaw, with the height, the weight, and the reach on me. So I am preparing accordingly…I’m feeling very confident. It’s gonna be a bad night for Nate.
For the first fight we didn’t even have one training session with a similar opponent. Now, it’s all we’ve done for the last few months.
TheMac Life releases a video of McGregor sparring with Wallace, while filming the UFC Bad Blood series. The full video will be released in the week before UFC 202.
Wallace will travel to Las Vegas after McGregor spoke to Ireland’s bantamweight world champion boxer Michael Conlan about sourcing a tall southpaw with a substantial reach to mimic Nate Diaz. Wallace:
I’ve watched a lot of videos of Nate. He’s a tall southpaw and he’s very dangerous with the right hand. I’ve been watching what he does and I’ll be trying to do exactly that to help Conor to prepare for the fight. He’s doing all the right things now that he didn’t do the last time — sparring southpaws and working on a lot of different stuff that he didn’t work on the last time. He knows Nate’s strengths and weaknesses now so I think you’re going to see a different result.
Wallace, a Newry middleweight who has claimed six all-Ireland titles, says that he had just wrapped up a sparring session with McGregor at the SBG gym in Dublin.
I think he is a very skilful operator, his boxing skills is of very high level. He definitely has what it takes to be a boxer. I’m privileged to be given the opportunity.