When it comes to the world of mixed martial arts, there are few better authorities out there than UFC Hall of Famer and former Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture. And as far as he’s concerned, Conor McGregor’s chances of beating Floyd Mayweather Jr. in their Aug. 26, 2017 boxing match are, well, about as slim as The Natural’s chances of returning to Dana White’s good graces.
In an appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, Couture commented on the now-notorious (no pun intended) video featuring the current UFC Lightweight Champion and his sparring partner, Paulie Malignaggi, calling Mystic Mac’s knockout of the former WBA Welterweight Champion questionable at best because an in-uniform referee was present for the match. This comes shortly after Malignaggi claimed in an interview with Ariel Helwani that the video was heavily edited, in an effort to make McGregor look like a legitimate threat to multi-titled boxer Mayweather.
While Couture didn’t hesitate to call the McGregor vs. Malignaggi video a “publicity stunt,” the main takeaway from his chat with Cowherd was his prediction for Conor’s upcoming boxing match against Mayweather. Regardless whether McGregor did legitimately knock Malignaggi down or not, Couture believes the 29-year-old UFC superstar will have his work cut out for him against Mayweather, 40, who boasts of an undefeated (49-0) pro boxing record.
“I give Conor a one in ten chance of winning this fight,” said Couture, as quoted by MMA Fighting. “He’s unorthodox, he’s a southpaw, he’s not gonna throw things that Floyd’s used to seeing, he’s younger, and he’s a little bigger. Those are all positives for Conor, but at the end of the day, he’s still competing in a pure boxing match against one of the pound-for-pound best technical, best defensive fighters that we’ve seen in a long, long time.”
According to MMA Fighting, Couture was in the exact opposite situation at UFC 118, an MMA fighter facing a known pro boxer, James Toney, inside the octagon. While Toney had gotten some legit MMA training in preparation for UFC 118, and showed a fair amount of promise, it took just 3:19 for the far more experienced Couture to submit him at the event.
Indeed, Couture was speaking from experience, even if his fight against Toney was the reverse of what we'll be seeing on Aug. 26, 2017, between Mayweather and McGregor. McGregor may have trained as a boxer, and boxing is arguably his biggest strength as an MMA fighter, but he'll have his hands full against a man who hasn't lost in boxing since the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. And while we can debate all day about that Paulie Malignaggi video, it goes without saying that Malignaggi is no Mayweather. McGregor's a serious underdog heading into his pro boxing debut, and there's no sweet way to put it.