Ever since UFC poster boy Conor McGregor set his sights on a mega fight boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, it has been impossible to avoid coverage of boxers and MMA fighters predicting the outcome. In reality, boxing and MMA are completely different sports. As we have seen in the past with side shows such as Toney versus Couture, each fighter will almost always win in their respective sport. I would much rather see Conor defend his title in the UFC instead of challenge a boxer who has been virtually untouchable throughout his career, but I get it, follow the money. It is hard to see Conor dethroning the P4P greatest boxer of his era. Add in the fact that Conor is 2-1 in his last 3 with a submission loss and a split decision victory in his own sport, and it is as unimaginable as it is illogical. The one thing that is interesting with this fight is the fact MMA is in a transition period. It is no longer matching up the toughest guy at the bar versus a college wrestler. MMA talent is improving by the day and the sport consists of many high level athletes in its current state. It is my firm belief elite athletes have the ability for success in other sports that require similar skills. College basketball players often transition to the NFL, but it doesn’t happen over night. Conor does not have enough time to master the sweet science before he cashes in courtesy of Money Mayweather, but let’s examine the top 5 fighters that could make the transition if they dedicated years to learning the sport.
5. Frankie Edgar: No matter what weight Frankie fights at, one thing is for sure, he will be the second best. He is insanely skilled, well rounded, and has the heart of a lion. Unfortunately, I see his career staying as a bridesmaid until he hangs it up. Frankie has cardio second to none, which I believe would greatly benefit him in the boxing world. MMA consists of 3 or 5, 5 minute rounds, in which you use many different weapons. Boxing is 10-12, 3 minute rounds using only your hands and it requires an insane amount of cardio. You cannot rely on a takedown if your arms start to fatigue. Add his cardio in with elite speed, technique, and head movement, and Frankie could find success in boxing with the right training.
4. Cain Velasquez: I was very hesitant to include a heavyweight in this list, and in all reality Cain would have to slim down to ever compete in boxing. Cain is known for his elite cardio, especially as a larger fighter. Along side of his never ending gas tank, Cain has the ability to throw strikes and land with pinpoint accuracy. He ranks 2nd all-time in Strike Differential at 4.14 and 4th all-time in strikes landed per minute with 6.14. If nothing else, Cain throws, lands, and doesn’t ever stop, this could translate well.
3. Conor McGregor: Although I have previously noted the self proclaimed king of MMA has been far from that, it is undeniable that he possesses athletic ability second to none. Conor is a true athlete, search a few YouTube videos of him training and this is easy to see. He is also as precise of a striker as you will find. Conor relies on speed and timing to create lights out power from his fists. The other intangible that he will most always have the advantage in is his mentality. His self confidence is often to the point of delusional, but at the end of the day he believes every word he says. Mastering your mind is an enormous piece of any sport, especially combat sports. I would have ranked Conor higher on this list if not for his cardio which has been exposed slightly in the Mendes fight and significantly in both Diaz fights. I am not sure Conor can keep pace past the 4th or 5th round as things stand today.
2. Nick Diaz: I will only allow myself to include one Diaz brother on this list, although both share very similar styles and abilities. I believe Nick is, and always has been, the far better fighter of the two. He is also far more psychotic if that is even possible. There is some weird shit in the Stockton water…motherfuckassss. Nick takes a lot of damage, which may ultimately be his downfall, but dedicating his training to boxing could fix this issue. His cardio is that of a top level triathlete, and his output is record breaking. In his fight versus Scott Smith he set a Compu Strike record for output and punches landed in the second round. Diaz threw an absurd 221 total strikes, landing 125 of those. Those numbers are similar to what Floyd Mayweather has thrown in his career to date. Nick is one of the few fighters I would actually pay to see box.
1. George St. Pierre: In my opinion, which is all that matters, GSP is the single greatest all around athlete in UFC History. The gymnast turned ninja can do it all. Add this in with the fact he is a true student of the martial arts and I have no doubt he could find success. He has worked with Freddie Roach on numerous occasions and Roach speaks very highly of his boxing skills, even with a small sample size of boxing specific training. GSP arguably has the best jab of all-time in MMA, the most important punch in a boxing match. His cardio has never once been a question and 12 rounds would likely be no issue for such an in shape, chiseled, charming, intelligent, good-looking male. And that accent, ohhhhh me ohhh my (sorry, got carried away there). Anyways, Floyd has always defended his own boring boxing style by noting the goal of the sport is not to brawl, it is not to exchange strikes, it is to land your shots and not get hit. This is something GSP has been the best at for years in a sport where there are many ways to get hit. He has the best Significant Strike Differential in UFC history at 73%, an absolutely absurd number. If Dana White keeps pissing off the great Canuck, look for GSP to hold the WBA, WBO, IBF, and WBC titles by early 2019.