By Kevin Byrne (Irish Sun)
Conor McGregor is back in action tonight and will fight for the UFC’s Interim featherweight title against Chad Mendes.
McGregor has been known for his power punches in the octagon but not many know that he has a background in boxing before he went into MMA.
Kevin Byrne from the Irish Sun recently spoke with McGregor and discussed his formative boxing years under the tutelage of respected trainer Phil Sutcliffe at Crumlin BC.
Here is what the UFC star had to say.
“Phil Sutcliffe is a phenomenal boxing coach and my time under Phil in Crumlin Boxing Club, I learned so many fundamentals that I still carry with me today. I learned so many shots off Phil and the coaching staff down there and the sparring with Phil Sutcliffe Jnr in my early days was phenomenal, it got me to that next level I feel.”
“It’s a phenomenal gym with great, great people. I believe Phil has recently renovated his place and I must go down when I get back home.
“I stopped going down when I was focusing on the other disciplines and looking to improve. Phil at the time was not too happy with that. ‘Why are you doing this grappling stuff? Or ‘why are you doing this kick boxing? You should be here boxing’.”
“It was all friendly stuff but eventually I moved on and ended up at Straight Blast Gym. But my time at Crumlin Boxing Club, I learned so much fundamentals that still stand to me today.”
That’s all well and good – but what did you win?
“I competed in a load of novice tournaments back in the day but every Thursday night Phil used to have these club shows so I’d show up every week and fight. I think I won two tournaments in the Ringside Club but man, that was a long time ago. It’s been a long road I’ve been on. One of the junior novices or something, I don’t know.
“For me, I was interested in the way the human body moves. I was into all forms of fighting. A career in a singular discipline did not interest me because I didn’t look at a man who specialises in one area as a specialist, I look at him as a rookie in ten other areas. And that is how I look at my competitors in the UFC.”
“I look at a taekwondo expert in Dennis Siver who specialises in the kicking aspect of the game. But I do not see a kicking expert, I see a novice boxer, a rookie wrestler, I see these people as rookies in other areas. Me, I’m looking to become an expert in all areas.”