Coming off his claims that Jon Jones can beat Brock Lesnar, UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture joined Colin Cowherd on Fox Sports One to talk about next week’s Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor. Couture has experience in taking on competitors from other sports who think they can make the transition to MMA, such as Brock Lesnar, and being the first mixed martial artist to fight boxer James Toney. While Lesnar has had a stellar career, Toney only had one MMA appearance, and fell quickly at the hands of the “Natural.”
“I definitely see two guys sparring…[But] I’m kind of questioning why there’s an official referee in his uniform there. That’s not a usual thing for a sparring workout. . . [The job of a sparring partner] is to give you a look, to present what your opponent may bring to this fight and to try to mimic that as much as you can. You’re not there to fight, you’re not there prove you can beat this guy or you can compete with this guy. That’s not what it’s about. You’re volunteering or being paid to give this guy a look, give him rounds, give him solid work, and mimic the guy he’s fighting.”
Malignaggi left the McGregor camp after photos of the sparring session at the UFC Performance Institute got out. While Malignaggi claimed that McGregor did land good shots, he also claimed that the video was edited to make Conor look good.
Couture dealt with a similar problem ahead of his bout with Toney at UFC 118. Toney, worked with Dean Lister and Muhammad Lawal ahead of their bout and the claim was that Toney was able to take both of the fighters down into submissions. Yet it was Couture who took down down the boxer immediately and submitted a hapless Toney at 3:19 of the first round. So for Couture, the McGregor sparring video seems likely to be more of the same promotional seasoning instead of something substantive or instructive.
“This reeks of a publicity stunt to me. Normally, you don’t have an official referee there, presiding over a sparring match. Normally, you’d have two or three other partners there that would rotate in on rounds and give each other breaks because it’s tough being that guy. You know when you’re there you’re there to contribute, to help this guy find solutions to the problems his opponent is gonna bring.”
“I give Conor a one in ten chance of winning this fight. He’s unorthodox, he’s a southpaw, he’s not gonna throw things that Floyd’s used to seeing, he’s younger, and he’s a little bigger. Those are all positives for Conor, but at the end of the day, he’s still competing in a pure boxing match against one of the pound-for-pound best technical, best defensive fighters that we’ve seen in a long, long time.”
Original Story: MMA Fighting