Is UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor representing every MMA fighter when he steps into the ring to face Floyd Mayweather on Saturday night? A fellow UFC star doesn’t think so.
Fabricio Werdum, a longtime critic of McGregor’s actions towards fellow fighters outside the UFC cage, praises McGregor’s abilities to make good business. In fact, “Vai Cavalo” thinks “The Notorious” is already a winner because “he will make millions” against Mayweather, but doesn’t see him as a representative of the sport.
"I don’t think he represents MMA. I don’t think he represents me, and many fighters think like that because [McGregor] doesn’t respect other fighters,” Werdum told MMA Fighting. "That’s the only reason. If he respected fighters more, every MMA fighter would have his back.
"Fans love McGregor, but 11 out of 10 fighters will say they don’t like him because he respects nobody. I’d be 100 percent on his side if he respected others, but he only cares about himself."
Some UFC fighters, including ones who have lost to McGregor in the past, are supporting the Irishman against Mayweather, but Werdum — who engaged in a back and forth with McGregor through the media in early 2016 — goes in a different direction.
"I want Mayweather to win to show him that boxing is different,” Werdum said. "If it was the opposite, a boxer fighting MMA, I’d root for MMA. That’s why I’m rooting for boxing.
"[McGregor] is really smart, does good business and will make millions,” he added. "He has created this character and I see some people try to be like him, but you have to be yourself. It’s ugly when a fighter changes the way he is and tries to be like somebody else. [McGregor] was always like this, controversial, the things he does, and selling a lot. He’s smart, but he doesn’t have my support."
Even though he’s not on McGregor’s side, Werdum doesn’t think it’s an impossible task to beat Mayweather.
"He obviously has a chance,” said the former UFC heavyweight champion. "It’s a fight. His chances are minimal, but he’s good in getting into people’s heads — and I think he already got into Mayweather’s head. But I can’t see him beating Mayweather."