After putting on an impressive performance opposite undefeated boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr. last weekend live on Showtime pay-per-view (PPV) in front of 6.5 million buyers, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor is receiving deserved praise from around the combat sports community.
McGregor, who was making his professional boxing debut, lasted 10 rounds with “Money” before suffering a standing TKO loss (highlights here). Despite experiencing his first knockout defeat of his career, “Notorious” has earned monumental respect from his combat peers, including former boxing champion Chris van Heerden.
“Honestly, I enjoyed the fight,” van Heerden said in a recent interview with Fight Hub TV (shown above). “Like I said, I would be a man. When McGregor proves me wrong I’m going to be a man and I’m going to say it and I’m going to do that because, you know what, I never expected Conor to be there, honestly didn’t expect him to be there for 10 rounds and I didn’t expect him to do as good as he did.
“So I want to go ahead and say congratulations to Conor McGregor. You proved me wrong and I’m man enough to say, well done brother. Respect to you.”
Remember, van Heerden mixed it up with McGregor in the public eye after a back-and-forth sparring session went viral. Regardless of what had happened between the two in the past, van Heerden was impressed with McGregor’s effort and output opposite Mayweather.
“Conor showed some stuff in there that was pretty cool,” van Heerden said. “I think it was round one or two, the slip, uppercut. That doesn’t just happen, you know? He trained it and he landed it. It was planned out and he landed it. So well done on that.”
While McGregor is better suited to compete inside of the UFC’s Octagon, the 29-year-old Irishman may very well make his way back to the boxing ring in the near future. He may not be able to bank over $100 million like he did against Mayweather, but McGregor’s obvious impact on the boxing world should allow him to infiltrate yet another lucrative market.