On St Patrick’s Day 2017, two of the greatest fighters in the world will walk into Madison Square Garden proudly waving the tri-colour.
Irish Olympic hero Michael Conlan will step up to the pro-ranks for the first time when he takes on Tim Ibarra in New York on March 17.
Making the walk with him will be a compatriot who’s propelled himself to superstardom through another combative art. Conor McGregor may have made his name in MMA, but with the rumours of him taking on Floyd Mayweather intensifying, it looks like he might cause a ruckus in the boxing world too.
As Conlan told TMZ, he fully believes that “the Notorious” isn’t pushing to fight Mayweather for an easy payday, he’s coming to cause an upset.
“He has serious talent. He’s a great fighter. You’ll just have to see what happens when the fight is made with Mayweather – which I do believe will be made. I don’t doubt Conor at all in his ability and he believes 100% in his ability. I don’t believe he’s going into the fight just for money, he believes he’s going to win.”
Conlan is looking ?https://t.co/zbvj1Yoywb
— SportsJOE.ie (@SportsJOEdotie) February 20, 2017
When asked about McGregor walking out with him for his pro debut, Conlan admitted he was honoured to be joined by the UFC star. The Belfast boxer helped McGregor with his preparations for his grudge match against Nate Diaz at UFC 202 and ever since then, they have become more friendly.
“I’ve known Conor quite a while now. You know, I got him the sparring partners he needed for Nate Diaz, for the rematch. Our friendship’s kind of grown since then.”
Conlan recounted the moment he asked McGregor to walk out with him in New York with a smile washed over his face. The two were at an event in Belfast when Conlan put McGregor on the spot, but he didn’t hesitate with his response.
“We were talking, we were at an event in Belfast and I asked him in front of the whole crowd. He shook on it, gave me his word and that’s what happened, it was simple as that. He loved it, I loved it, he said it would be an honour. I said it would be an honour to have him.”
It’s going to be one hell of a Paddy’s Day this year.