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UFC’s Gooden: McGregor has to ‘look for the knockout’ early against Mayweather

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UFC play-by-play man John Gooden gives his insights into the potential Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather superfight, as well as a possible Jimi Manuwa vs. David Haye bout.

Fans have heard what Joe Rogan has to say about Conor McGregor’s chances against Floyd Mayweather. How the UFC lightweight champion may not be nearly as good a boxer as Floyd, but “Conor McGregor is dangerous as f—k and he has a really deceptive ability to move in and move out.”

It’s a stance that even Nate Diaz has backed up, giving McGregor a chance to make something happen inside the first two or three rounds. And it’s starting to look like that narrative is going to become the major analysis talking point in the lead up to any potential bout (if the fight ever does actually get made).

Speaking to Sub Radio recently, UFC commentator John Gooden gave his thoughts, and he too sees McGregor’s path to victory in going for the early KO. Anything else and the ‘Notorious’ Irishman likely comes up short.

“I think that McGregor would come out hard early on,” Gooden responded when asked how McGregor might approach a Mayweather fight. “He clearly has ridiculous power. I mean, I don’t think we need to question that anymore. The way that he sets his shots, his technique and his precision, he’s able to deliver knockout blows. But it is boxing and you are going up against the very best defensive boxer that potentially we’ve ever seen.

“So for my liking, Mayweather’s gonna want to drag that fight out and Conor’s energy systems over 12 rounds. If he tries to take out Mayweather early on, is he going to be able to sustain it? I really don’t know. It’s got to play into the favor of Mayweather. He’s so used to the length of the rounds, the weight of the gloves, the ring. All of these things. Whereas Conor has been playing at a different game with many more things to consider. So there’s a lot of muscle memory in these things when you get tired, and for me, I just think that you’re stepping slightly away from your world there and it’s even harder because you’re constricted by a defined rule-set taking away a lot more weapons.

“The other way around is slightly different,” Gooden continued, “but Conor is a fantastic – what does he call it? An unarmed combatant, hand-to-hand fighting – he’s fantastic. But there’s a lot more rules in boxing. He has a very different target area with heavier gloves. But if he’s gonna do it, I think he has has to go in there and try and take him out early and look for the knockout. I don’t think he outpoints Mayweather over the distance.”

Gooden also got a chance to talk about Jimi Manuwa’s recent call-out. The Londoner picked up a gorgeous KO win over Corey Anderson at UFC Fight Night 107 and took his post-fight time in the spotlight to ask for a bout against former heavyweight boxing world champion David Haye.

“Well, I actually knew that was (gonna happen),” Gooden said of Manuwa’s callout. “I think I had an inkling because I spent some time with Jimi. I went out and produced the stuff with him before, so I’m sure I heard him say that to his team, which I thought was quite funny. I’m not sure if it was tongue in cheek, but here’s my thing, and it kind of goes in line with the whole Conor McGregor situation as well – who am I to really say no to a guy who wants a really big payday?

“You know, as much as I have my own issues with MMA against boxing – I don’t really like it, I think the boxing fraternity are always looking for reasons in which to say that they are superior to us – that would be a really big pull for fans. And certainly, when you look at Conor McGregor and Mayweather, I think David Haye vs. Jimi Manuwa would pull a decent crowd as well. So if it’s an extra payday for him, who am I to get in the way of that.

“Do I like it?” Gooden asked, rhetorically. “Actually, I think Jimi you’re on the rise here, you’re doing really well, you’ve got a good head of steam now. Keep the four-ounce gloves on and you never know, it’s a crazy sport, injuries happen and what have you, your opportunity could be presented, you could be the next guy. Who knows. But the title is not that far away if you stay in that win column.”

Of course, outside of all the theoretical breakdowns, it still remains to be seen if Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather can actually get through the red tape to get a fight booked - especially with the UFC likely looking to cut themselves in for a major portion of any profits from the match. And if the fight does happen, what will the undercard look like? Who’s going to control the bookings? Could a fight like Manuwa vs. Haye ever be on the table? There’s not much more than speculation out there at the moment.