Former UFC welterweight Cathal Pendred, a long-time training partner of Conor McGregor, says his fellow Irishman is 100% confident he will become the first man to defeat boxer Floyd Mayweather when the pair meet in a heavily-hyped hybrid superfight on August 26 in Las Vegas.
Having spent time around the UFC lightweight during training camps and on fight night, Pendred has a McGregor-shaped insight few can match. He has watched McGregor make boasts and predictions and then go out and back them up. He has witnessed him do extraordinary things in the training room. He has listened to his plans.
And it’s for that reason Pendred won’t be doubting his mate when the time comes for McGregor to make his professional debut in August, in a fight against one of the greatest ring technicians to ever lace up a pair of gloves.
“I’m absolutely interested in seeing it,” said Cathal, who retired in 2015 and has since taken to acting (he stars in the Amazon series Lore, as well as the film My Name Is Lenny). “It’s the only fight I’d be interested in seeing Mayweather in.
“I think Conor brings something new to the table, something fresh, something different. I think there are problems there for Mayweather and a lot of ‘what-if?’ questions. That’s what interests me. People want to see it.
“Conor has talked on and on about it. He’s told me he’s going to beat him. I don’t doubt that man, no matter what he says. If he says he’s going to become the next President of the United States, I’ll believe him. Whatever he says, he does. There’s no reason for me to doubt him.”
In the space of four years McGregor has gone from a little-known Irishman with a way with words to the biggest active star in combat sports. It’s a rise to prominence that has captured the attention of everyone, most notably Mayweather, he of the hundred million dollar purses and record-breaking pay-per-view numbers, and allowed him to use his newfound fame and ability to sell a fight – any fight – to venture from mixed martial arts to boxing and for all to somehow make sense (even if we’re just for now talking financial sense).
“He’s something special,” Pendred says of McGregor. “He was always a star before he even made it as a star. He has an infectious personality, he’s an inspirational guy. His mindset is what separates him from everybody else. There is not one bit of doubt in his mind. Doubt never even creeps into his mind.
“I’ve never seen a man more confident before a fight than him. He goes into fights and he may as well have already won the fight. He walks in there so confident. That’s what separates him from everybody else; that belief and the work ethic on top of that.
“I think it’s safe to say he’s one of the biggest celebrities in the world right now. It’s very surreal. It was only a few years ago we were training in a crappy gym and he was on social welfare and we were all broke wondering if we were going to make it. Now look at him.”
It’s no coincidence Cathal Pendred managed to retire at just the right time – leaving fight sports in the dust – and is now impressively carving a niche for himself as an actor. When surrounded by someone as magnetic and inspiring as Conor McGregor for much of your adult life, the only choice is to shoot for the stars.