Conor McGregor backed to beat UFC welterweight champion in boxing match
Conor McGregor has been backed by top boxing analyst Teddy Atlas to beat Kamaru Usman in a pure stand-up contest.
Usman, who knocked out Jorge Masvidal and dropped the likes of Colby Covington and Gilbert Burns multiple times on the feet, is better known for his wrestling than his striking.
But he has significantly improved his stand-up over the last few fights, and he has called out undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez for a potential crossover fight.
But trainer Teddy Atlas has poured cold water on the idea that Usman could compete in boxing, saying that while he is undoubtedly one of the best fighters in the world, he would lose to many average boxers.
"As far as just generally, how would Usman do compared to McGregor?" Atlas posed as a hypothetical question during an interview with The Schmo.
"In some ways, you would think that the answer would be easily to say 'yeah, Usman would do as good or maybe better', he's got physicality, he's very strong, he's a decent puncher.
"He's not a bad striker, although I think a lot of his strengths are on the mat with his knowledge there and physicality."
However, despite that edge in physicality, Atlas said he was more impressed by McGregor's showing against Floyd Mayweather than Usman's striking displays thus far.
McGregor performed incredibly well during a losing effort to boxing legend Mayweather in his boxing debut back in 2017, which Atlas feels would be tough for Usman to replicate.
"Could [Usman] win… If you throw him in there with a B-level guy or even a good journeyman guy? No," Atlas continued.
"I don't want to upset anyone, especially on Christmas Eve, but as long as the rules are strictly boxing, no he wouldn't be able to have tremendous success there.
"McGregor had some great success with the great [Floyd] Mayweather, that was for a few reasons.
"One was that Mayweather was 40, he'd been off for two-and-a-half years and another reason is that styles make fights.
"McGregor was fighting a guy who's a counter-puncher that's going to give him some room and let him perform a little bit.
"He's not going to go in and be a seek-and-destroy missile, he wasn't going to be a guy like Spence or a go-get-you type of guy who would be aggressive and go right after him.
"McGregor was ahead, I know people are going to choke on their pecan pie that you're having right now, but he was ahead after four rounds.
"I was there for ESPN calling the fights and I was there with the great Chael Sonnen, sitting ringside and after four rounds he was ahead.
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"And there's a reason for it because he's a southpaw, he's got long arms, he's a counter-puncher and he was staying outside with the counter punch and using his reach.
"Then, of course, Mayweather did what he had to do in his realm to break him down and he did and he got to him."
And Atlas is a keen believer in the old fighting adage that "styles make fights", saying that Usman would need to be very particular with his boxing opponent if he were to make the switch.
"But the point I'm making is that styles make fights," Atlast explained. "MMA, boxing, I don't care what it is that's consistent and that's reality.
"And for Usman, if they picked the right style that would have a lot to do with what kind of success or lack thereof he would have in boxing.
"But he couldn't just come in, you have to be honest, because he doesn't have one area where you could say 'he's real cute, he's real elusive'."
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