Sport MMA

Friday 21 October 2016

Conor McGregor's choice of sparring partner suggests he's preparing for Nate Diaz, not Floyd Mayweather

Tom Rooney

Published 17/05/2016 | 18:22

Conor McGregor wanted another crack at Nate Diaz
Conor McGregor wanted another crack at Nate Diaz

Conor McGregor is currently in Los Angeles enjoying the sunshine while preparing for an unspecified bout, but if his latest sparing partner’s physical dimensions are anything to go by, it won’t be against Floyd Mayweather.

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Hardly a day has gone by over the last week without some reference to a possible super-fight between McGregor and the currently retired Mayweather.

Even the slightest interest in combat sports, and the parties in question, would be sufficient to realise that the prospect of such an event materialising is slim to say the least. Although both men, being the expert promoters that they are, have done little to quash the notion.

And, who knows, it just might happen. But, for now, McGregor is a bone fide mixed martial artist under contract with the UFC, while Mayweather continues to enjoy the fruits of his 49-0 career as a pugilist.

In reality, the showdown between the Dubliner and Nate Diaz, which was pulled from the main event slot of UFC 200 when the former refused to fulfil media obligations, will soon be rescheduled.

The hugely anticipated rematch has been touted for UFC 202 in August, though is yet to be confirmed.

Of course, on just 12 days’ notice, Diaz defeated McGregor via second round submission at UFC 196 in a makeshift welterweight contest and, subsequently, the SBG man has been ensconced in various locations seeking to rectify the shortcomings which lead to his first loss in close to six years.

Having trained in Portugal and Iceland, the 27-year-old has returned to the familiar surrounds of Los Angeles where, as his social media posts suggest, he continues to acquit himself diligently.

McGregor recently sparred with South African boxer Chris van Heerden who, funnily enough, has an uncannily similar frame to that of Diaz.

The former IBF welterweight champion stands at 5’11- just an inch shorter that the Californian- and is also a rangy southpaw. Van Heerden took to Twitter to thank McGregor for sharing the squared circle with him earlier this week.

In the Facebook post detailing why he decided not to travel to the UFC 200 press event, McGregor referenced Diaz’s reach and length as obstacles he must navigate, and his work with a such potent boxer confirm his words were not hollow.

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