RIO DE JANEIRO — Two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields believes Cris Cyborg would be "a monster” if she focused only on boxing, and the UFC featherweight queen is willing to step into the ring to test herself.
Cyborg, who has competed — and done well — in jiu-jitsu and wrestling matches and muay thai bouts, told the media in Brazil that she’s willing to put the gloves on for boxing if given an opportunity.
"I’d like to box,” Cyborg said during a recent media scrum in Rio de Janeiro. "Claressa and I trained together and there’s no one better for you to train but an Olympic medalist. She’s fast. It’s good to train with someone better than you because you evolve, you see more things. But I would definitely box if I have an opportunity like McGregor.”
Conor McGregor, a UFC champion like Cyborg, will enter the boxing ring Aug. 26 to challenge 49-0 legend Floyd Mayweather. The Brazilian fighter admires his will to compete with the best, but doesn’t expect him to come out victorious this time.
"I don’t believe he will win the fight,” she said. "Mayweather will win this fight, for sure. He’s at another level. But (McGregor) is brave, and he opened doors for MMA (fighters) in boxing and for boxing fans to come to MMA, and vice versa. It will help our sport grow."
Mayweather has defeated some of the best boxers in the world for years, never being knocked down once in his career, but Cyborg thinks that the fact that McGregor has never competed in boxing before could become a problem.
"It’s different when you train with someone that knows boxing. But when you train with someone that doesn’t know boxing … it’s not that McGregor doesn’t know boxing, but he’s not a boxer his entire life,” Cyborg said. "When you’re sparring with someone that is not from boxing it’s more difficult because he throws a different jab compared to a boxer, has different faints, so there are more surprises.
"But I don’t believe McGregor will win. Mayweather is a boxing legend."