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03rd Aug 2017

Conor McGregor leaves a few marks following violent round two with Pauli Malignaggi

"I went in there to prove a point"

Ben Kiely

One sparring session just wasn’t enough for Conor McGregor and Paulie Malignaggi.

When Conor McGregor and Paulie Malignaggi first stepped into the ring together, they were only supposed to go six rounds. However, both men enjoyed the sparring session so much they went for eight.

The former two-weight world boxing champion’s face showed the effects of the eight round war that, by all accounts, got pretty damn rough.

Malignaggi was left with distinct marks on his cheek and below his eye after throwing leather with ‘the Notorious,’ and their second session together was not only longer, but it was also more violent.

Malignaggi revealed to Brett Okamoto of ESPN that he was impressed with the improvements McGregor had made in such a short space of time. He feels the UFC superstar is only getting ‘better and better’ and is implementing ‘more and more’ of that special gameplan Owen Roddy and co. have devised for Floyd Mayweather.

He admitted that he wasn’t in the best of spirits heading into the training session with McGregor because he suspected he was being set up by team McGregor.

“Lot of violence. I went in there to prove a point. I didn’t like the fact I had to fly across the country on Monday, and they have me scheduled for 12 on Tuesday. I thought it was a little bit of a setup.”

“Usually all sparring is private. I show up at the UFC headquarters and (Lorenzo) Fertitta is there. Dana White is there. So, I’m thinking these guys are thinking they’ll catch me right off the flight, set me up for him to look good in front of his audience. I didn’t like that. I kind of went in with a chip on my shoulder.”

As for what transpired inside the ring, Malignaggi admitted getting tired in the last two rounds where McGregor excelled. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t exactly a squeaky clean performance from McGregor either.

“There was a pushdown yesterday. Conor on the inside, he can get a little rough. He shoved me down, you know, but no knockdowns. Obviously, 12 rounds, you’re gonna see there’s a mark on my face. Very, very hard work for both of us. I was starting to get in a groove in the middle rounds, starting to land some good shots. Conor really came on strong in the end. It was back and forth.”

Indeed, it was hard to miss the marks McGregor left on Malignaggi’s face.

Paulie Malignaggi

They look like the makings of two shiners to us.

Malignaggi signed off by announcing that he doesn’t consider himself to be friends with McGregor, but rather, he thinks of him as his ‘frenemy’.

While the phrasing may be surprising, the sentiment certainly isn’t. These two warriors are ultra-competitive. They have earned each other’s respect, but once those gloves get laced up, it’s all business.