Conor McGregor faced off verbally against every facet of Floyd Mayweather on Monday – Junior and Senior. But it was the father who sparred the longest and loudest with “The Notorious One” at the Staples Center, and McGregor thoroughly enjoyed the encounter.
“Aug. 26 this man Mayweather (Jr.) will be unconscious,” McGregor told a room packed with media after exiting the Staples Center stage, discussing his strategy for his much-anticipated 12-round boxing match against undefeated “Money” Mayweather at T-Mobile Arena. “He’s too small. He’s too frail. That’s it. What more can I say? If he catches the shot in the glove, his brain will still be rattled.”
Suddenly, from the back of the room, Mayweather Sr., 64, shouted a challenge to McGregor: “F- you! Your ass is gonna get beat!”
McGregor looked directly at Senior. “I don’t know which is which – senior or junior!” he said, laughing and gesturing to the media.
“I will beat your ass!” Senior shouted at McGregor.
“You’ll get your chance on Aug. 26, Junior!” Mayweather said, laughing hysterically and waving the microphone in his hand. “Your boy’s in trouble, Senior. Your boy’s in trouble.”
McGregor then pointed directly at Mayweather Sr and offered this pointed assessment of his son: “Because he’s too small. I’m just telling you – he’s too small, too frail. I’m just telling you, it’s true.”
By now, this press conference had became a battle of wits between the former professional welterweight and father of five-division boxing champ Mayweather Jr. and McGregor, the famously brash but talented reigning UFC lightweight champion.
“You got greedy!” McGregor told Senior in his Irish brogue, admonishing him for encouraging Junior to take the fight. “You got greedy and that’s it. He could have been 49-0 and ridden off into the sunset.
“Trust me – that was a big mistake. You mis-advised him. You should’ve kept him retired. It’s your fault!”
The media room erupted in laughter, and Senior didn’t take this lightly. “What you think you gonna look like when you get your ass whipped?” he shouted at McGregor.
“Your boy is going to sleep,”McGregor responded, “and he’s going to look so good in his sleep. I know he is. I’ll tell you what though – he’s gonna wake up a better man, I promise you that.”
Countered Senior: “Your ass has been knocked out before!”
“I haven’t even been tittled,” McGregor answered, laughing heartily.
“How many fights have you lost?” Senior asked incredulously, obviously referencing McGregor’s lone UFC loss when Nate Diaz submitted him with a second-round rear naked choke at UFC 196 in March 2016.
McGregor smiled. “Submission,” he responded, slowly. “Submission. Something you know nothing about. You know nothing about this game. I bounce shinbones off opponents’ heads.”
The back-and-forth was like nothing boxing has ever seen. That’s because this wildly unconventional fight, between a mixed martial arts superstar and the greatest boxer of his generation, one putting his 49-0 record on the line, has already become tremendous theater. It’s all about the unknown.
And with three more stops to come on this four-city, three-country World Tour, the banter is sure to become more heated and animated.
The public presser before a crowd of just over 11,000 at Staples Center featured Mayweather Jr. and McGregor exchanging the expected verbal jabs in the arena. “Listen, it’s all just noise at the end of the day,” McGregor summed it up backstage, “but the fight is the fight. We’re gonna get in and we’re gonna fight. I look forward to it.”
Once again, Senior became riled. “After my son beats your ass …”
“You’re a fan, Floyd Sr,” McGregor said, cutting him off. “I know you’re a fan. I can see it in your eyes! You’re a fan of my sh-t! I know a fan when I can f-ing see one!”
McGregor was clearly amused. He chuckled out loud while several Mayweather Promotions crew members tried to calm Senior, and then the Irishman took a serious question about what he expected to do with his career following the mega bout in Las Vegas.
How easily will it be to go back to MMA once he earns upwards of $100 million from this show, one which likely will break pay-per-view records?
“Look, I love a true fight – elbows, knees, shinbones,” McGregor responded. "You ever bounce a shinbone off a nose bone? You ever dug an elbow into the temple? It’s an unusual feeling, it’s a nasty one but it’s something I enjoy, it’s something I love to do. So I look forward to going back to MMA and having a true fight after this.”
So McGregor is not done with the UFC. And he spoke like one fight against Mayweather Jr. may not be enough.
“Maybe rematches (with Mayweather Jr.) and all will probably be there,” he said, "but I’m not forgetting my mixed martial arts training. I’m always focusing on my kicking game. I’m always focusing on my grappling.
“And occasionally,” McGregor added, grinning, "I do a little bit of boxing.”
Nancy Gay is the Editor-in-Chief of UFC. Follow her on Twitter at @NancyGay