Conor McGregor and a couple of his sparring partners from the boxing community have had a bit of a rocky relationship.
Prior to the big buzz between McGregor and former two-weight boxing world champion Paulie Malignaggi, “The Notorious” had a bit of a rift with Chris van Heerden, a former IBO champion. McGregor and van Heerden sparred leading up to Conor’s rematch with Nate Diaz at UFC 202. Initially, they had great things to say about each other but things turned south when an edited clip of them sparring showed McGregor getting the better of van Heerden. The former IBO champ then released an unedited clip of their sparring session that showed things much more competitive between the two.
Leading up to the Mayweather and McGregor fight, van Heerden said it would be a win for boxing with what Mayweather would do to the current UFC lightweight champion. However, after seeing McGregor’s performance against Mayweather, van Heerden admitted he was impressed with what McGregor was able to pull off.
“I enjoyed the fight. Honestly, I enjoyed the fight. Like I said, I would be a man. When McGregor proves me wrong I’m going to be a man and I’m going to say it and I’m going to do that because, you know what, I never expected Conor to be there, honestly didn’t expect him to be there for 10 rounds and I didn’t expect him to do as good as he did.
“So I want to go ahead and say congratulations to Conor McGregor. You proved me wrong and I’m man enough to say, well done brother. Respect to you.
“Conor showed some stuff in there that was pretty cool. I think it was round one or two, the slip, uppercut. That doesn’t just happen, you know? He trained it and he landed it. It was planned out and he landed it. So well done on that.”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 8/31/2017.