Thursday 23 February 2017

'I'd love to spar with UFC star McGregor and teach him a few tricks' - Olympic hero McCullough

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor
Wayne McCullough with his daughter Wynona and wife Cheryl at the Special Olympics in Los Angeles

Former Olympic hero Wayne McCullough dreamed of being a UFC fighter like Conor McGregor, but was too small.

The silver medallist, nicknamed the 'Pocket Rocket', would "definitely" have moved from boxing to UFC after the Barcelona Olympics if the weight divisions allowed.

He is now based in Los Angeles where he has built up a friendship with McGregor and intends to teach him some new techniques.

"I would have definitely went to UFC, no question about it," he told the Irish Independent.

"You can actually hold somebody and hit them at the same time. In boxing, when somebody runs away you can't hit them."

Last Thursday McCullough celebrated the 20th anniversary of his famous WBC championship win over Yasuei Yakushiji in Japan.

It is now seven years since he fought a professional fight but he said he would "always be an athlete" and "maybe I'll get back in there some day".

The 45-year-old lives in Santa Monica with his wife Cheryl and works as a personal trainer for celebrities, boxers - and some ordinary people too. "I never officially retired, I just walked away from it because I couldn't get the fights I wanted," he said, adding that he is very much up for a sparring match with McGregor.

He was in Las Vegas last month for the Dubliner's fight against Chad Mendes and they touched fists as McGregor entered the Octagon.

"I'd love to spar with him and teach him a few of the methods that I was taught by my coach Eddie Futch.

"You can always get better. It's hard to get to the top but it's harder to stay there. He's not quite at the top, he has to fight Aldo," McCullough said.He described McGregor as a "normal, humble guy" behind all the trash talk.

"With Conor, he says what he's going to do and he does it. Conor has backed up everything he has said he's going to do. It's great to see.

"Next year, he's probably going to go to Croke Park and sell it out."

McCullough spoke to the Irish Independent after travelling 20 miles from his home to the University of Southern California to cheer on Team Ireland at the Special Olympics.

He said his win in 1992 changed his life and still meant the most to him.

Irish Independent

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