News that Terrence Crawford is open to a mixed martial arts (MMA) bout with Conor McGregor has gotten some buzz over social media. And the boxer having a wrestling background surely makes a possible MMA bout against McGregor a truly interesting one.
But if Crawford fights McGregor in a boxing bout, the American would surely have the edge as he obviously hits harder than Floyd Mayweather Jr., who defeated the Irish fighter via stoppage in an epic bout in August 2017.
Still undefeated at 36-0 with 27 knockouts with seven of his last bouts ending in stoppage or knockout, Crawford could get his biggest paycheck from fighting McGregor, either in the ring or octagon.
At this point, it is almost a given that Crawford could handle McGregor in the ring. But even if he boasts of a wresting background, the American would have his hands full against the Irish in the octagon.
Unless Crawford could entice McGregor to engage him in stand-up fight and land a wicked punch, the American would find out the painful way that MMA is also a demanding discipline, requiring a set of skills to win.
So, that means the window of opportunity for Crawford to stop McGregor in the octagon via a stoppage would be in the first minute. A good example of this is when the then 48-year old former top heavyweight contender Rey Mercer (36-7-1 with 26 KOs) knocked out with just one punch the much bigger Tim Silvia in an MMA bout.
Only three strikes were thrown in that fight — a low kick from Silvia and a hard right from Mercer that landed squarely on his opponent that was followed by two more punches as Silvia laid flat on his back.
But could that happen in an MMA bout between Crawford and McGregor? From where I stand, I only see that happening with a 10-percent chance.
So, I expect a long night if Crawford and McGregor fight in the octagon.
The only ways I see Crawford winning against McGregor is for him to land a series of punches to immediately end the fight, and take down the Irish and wrestle him and employ the ground-and-pound. However, that does not look easy.
In his last MMA bout, McGregor employed a fantastic left kick to the head against Cowboy Cerrone last January, knocking out his opponent cold. McGregor needed only 40 second to end the fight in the first round.
So, the question is — how will Crawford deal with McGregor’s kicks?
Truth is, a boxer’s possible greatest nightmare is a prolific kicker. And with MMA allowing low kicks (except to the groin area), it could be a short night for Crawford if McGregor can land one of his vicious kicks.
Crawford “dancing” away from McGregor’s kicks, on the other hand, will deny him opportunity to sit on his punches, resulting in weaker counters against the Irish. And since McGregor is actually the bigger man, Crawford will really have to generate enough power from his punches to hurt or stop the top MMA fighter. So, dancing away from McGregor all night and landing successive punches may not cut if for Crawford.
Crawford has fought at welterweight (147 pounds) four times so far and has held the World Boxing Organization title for that division since June 2018. He beat Jeff Horn for the title.
On the other hand, McGregor has fought also at welterweight in MMA, but in mixed martial arts, the weight limit for that division is 171 pounds. In boxing, 171 pounds is already above super middleweight (168 pounds) and fall within the light heavyweight limit (175 pounds).
I still see Crawford vs McGregor a great fight in the octagon. But I could not give the nod that Crawford will walk away with a win.