On Thursday, former boxing champion Paulie Malignaggi left Conor McGregor’s training camp amid a dispute stemming from sparring sessions between the two. Malignaggi is the former WBA welterweight champion and former IBF junior welterweight champion and was brought in by McGregor to help him prepare for some of the intricacies of boxing that await McGregor as his August 26 date with Floyd Mayweather fast approaches.
But even as things seem to be falling apart in McGregor’s training camp, the UFC lightweight champion has gotten an endorsement from an unlikely source: Nick Diaz, the older brother of McGregor’s MMA rival Nate Diaz.
Speaking recently with My MMA News, Diaz opined on the upcoming McGregor-Mayweather fight and suggested that McGregor might not be completely outmatched by the all-time boxing great.
“As far as MMA, I want to say there’s maybe five guys that do jiu-jitsu that have an actual level of understanding when it comes to boxing. He obviously does. I feel like, if he can hit my brother he can definitely can put up somewhat of a fight with Floyd, if not actually bring him an actual challenge,” Diaz said.
Last year, McGregor had a pair of fights with Nate Diaz which are among the most memorable of his career. After being hurt on the feet and then submitted by Diaz who came in on short notice, the two rematched each other with McGregor winning a hard-fought decision in a Fight of the Year candidate. Nick Diaz says that second fight could be instructive for Mayweather’s upcoming boxing match because outside observers fail to take into account the behind the scenes things going on for fighters.
“I don’t know what’s gonna happen. I could say one thing, I could be wrong. Also, the ups and downs of life, you never know what’s going on. Either one of these guys could have a bad – like the last time my brother fought he had broken ribs, torn rib tissue. Neither one of those fights worked out for him. He had 13 days the first time and the next time he was injured. I was there for it.”
For what it’s worth, Mayweather, who turned 40 this year, has said that this training camp has been very tough on his body.
Diaz, is currently under a provisional suspension by USADA for failure to properly notify the organization of his whereabouts as required for testing purposes. Diaz hasn’t fought since losing a decision to Anderson Silva in January of 2015, a result that was later changed to a No Contest after Silva tested positive for banned substances and Diaz failed a drug test for marijuana. Diaz was suspended for five years which was later dropped to 18 months. Though Diaz has no immediate plans to return to the cage, the former Strikeforce welterweight champion blames this newest issue on a failure by USADA.
“They know where I’m at though. Somebody over there is not doing their job. I mean realistically, they showed up to one of my dispensary signings. Like I said, I gotta do what I can with what I have to work with when I’m not fighting. The whole cannabis industry thing is on hit right now, so yeah, I’ll book an appearance over there and I’ll go and smoke a bunch of weed and it’s a good time. So of course, word is out I’m gonna be here, they show up.
“I’m not hard to find. I’m on Snapchat and Instagram every day.”