Respected Crumlin BC coach Phil Sutcliffe has hailed the influence of Conor McGregor around the gym.
‘The Notorious’, who made the Olympian part of his backroom team for the January Donald Cerrone win, announced his decision to retire from the UFC and mixed martial arts during lockdown, but has been keeping in shape down at Crumlin gym.
A former amateur at the club, McGregor has been more of a Crumlin regular in recent years, training and sparring down the club and appearing on two famous Good Friday shows.
Sutcliffe is delighted to have the two weight UFC champion back and suggests his presence is beneficial to the entire club.
“He’s [McGregor] is a breath of fresh air” Sutcliffe told The Echo. “It’s great to have a super star training here where he wants to be.
“He’s won most of his fights through his striking and he’s never forgotten his roots.
“He boxed with us from about 10 years of age up to about 17 and was starting to get involved in the Martial Arts around 14.
“I have to admit that I wasn’t too happy about that at the time, but he’s proven us all wrong.
“He’s combined the two [disciplines] together and he’s won titles at the very top.
“He was always very good at boxing. He’s super dedicated and he has a wallop as we’ve seen many times” said Sutcliffe.
Between the ages of 12 and 16, McGregor boxed out of the Phil Sutcliffe Sr run gym and won the Dublin Novice Championships as a 16 year old. He continued at the club after this but his commitment would dwindle as MMA took hold.
The club has always held a special place in McGregor’s heart as rose through the MMA ranks, picking up four world titles across Cage Warriors and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Back in 2015 he told Irish boxing writer Kevin Byrne that “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.”
The charismatic and controversial Crumlin fighter would foray into the world of boxing in 2017 for a money-spinning bout with five-weight champion Floyd Mayweather and the build-up to this Las Vegas clash saw his old club spring to prominence, with numerous U.S. media outfits visiting.