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Dana White proud of Conor McGregor after Floyd Mayweather fight, but wants him back in UFC


LAS VEGAS – UFC President Dana White had nothing but praise for Conor McGregor despite his loss to Floyd Mayweather.

When it comes to the UFC lightweight champion’s future, however, White wants it to be in the octagon – not the squared circle.

“This isn’t what he does,” White said at the post-fight press conference for “The Money Fight” on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. “He’s a mixed martial artist, where he goes in and uses all of his weapons, and tonight he was only allowed to use his hands.

“I think he did great tonight. I don’t think there’s anything left to prove. I would rather he fight in MMA.”

McGregor (21- 3 MMA, 9-1 UFC, 0-1 boxing) started strong against Mayweather (50-0 boxing) before fading under pressure from body shots and a persistent attack. A flurry of shots prompted referee Robert Byrd to intervene and declare a TKO at the 1:05 mark of the 10th round.

Two of three judges had Mayweather winning all but the first round – a bizarre finding considering McGregor’s early work. But in the end, the Irish champ did far better than most expected.

For his part, White said he didn’t have much desire to stage another big crossover fight pitting an MMA fighter against a boxer. He noted, “I’m ready to get back to the UFC and do what I do.”

But White couldn’t wait to gloat against detractors of his first experiment.

“(Boxing commentator) Max Kellerman, I’ve been trying to get ahold of him. He ain’t answering his phone right now. He said Conor wouldn’t land one punch on Floyd Mayweather,” White said. “There were a lot of people that were super negative about this with Floyd.”

But instead, White pointed out, McGregor had availed himself better than most of Mayweather’s opponents. He cited a Compubox stat where opponents of the undefeated boxer had landed less than 100 strikes in nine of his bouts that went 12 rounds. McGregor landed 111 before he was stopped at the 1:05 mark of the 10th.

A moral victory, perhaps. But a victory nonetheless for a fighter with no professional boxing experience.

“I don’t know if tonight was the best boxing you’ve ever seen, but Conor was landing jabs on Floyd Mayweather,” White said. “Conor looked damn good tonight to me.”

White said he’d been speaking with McGregor backstage after the fight, but the two haven’t discussed what’s next. Given the money McGregor will make for “The Money Fight,” there will be questions of whether he’ll have demands for the UFC if he’s to return to the octagon, possibly at the end of this year.

White confidently said there’s an easy fix for that.

“If our fights do what our fights do, what the buys did here and the gate, nobody will be bitching,” he said.

For complete coverage of “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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