Conor Wallace (left) contested last December's Irish Elite middleweight final against European gold and World bronze medallist Michael O'Reilly. Ryan Byrne/INPHO
A tale of two Conors

Conor McGregor to bring one of Ireland's top amateur boxers to Vegas for Diaz training camp

Conor Wallace describes it as “a massive opportunity”.

AHEAD OF HIS rematch with Nate Diaz, Conor McGregor is leaving no stone unturned as he bids to avenge the only defeat of his UFC career so far.

McGregor has drafted in a plethora of high-level training partners at SBG in Dublin in recent weeks, including Dutch kickboxing world champion Robbie Hageman and American BJJ ace Dillon Danis.

The UFC featherweight champion will depart for Las Vegas next week as he builds up to the 20 August welterweight bout at the T-Mobile Arena, and he’ll be joined in Nevada for the next seven weeks by Irish amateur boxer Conor Wallace.

The 20-year-old Newry middleweight was brought in to imitate Diaz after McGregor spoke to Ireland’s bantamweight world champion boxer Michael Conlan about sourcing a tall southpaw with a substantial reach to mimic his UFC 202 opponent.

Conlan suggested Wallace, and after the pair sparred together at Straight Blast Gym on the Naas Road a fortnight ago, McGregor has asked the six-time All-Ireland champion to join his training camp in Vegas — along with Wallace’s coach Owen Murphy — as Wallace announced this morning (H/T: Peter Carroll).

“I was very, very impressed with his boxing skills; his reflexes, his movement, making angles — he’s very hard to hit,” Wallace told The42 this afternoon when asked about working with McGregor, who boxed at Crumlin Boxing Club before he switched to MMA in 2006. “He’s very tricky. You can tell that he has boxed himself at a high level.”

Although he admits that he’s not a passionate MMA fan, Wallace has been a big admirer of McGregor’s achievements. Wallace is keen to help the 27-year-old Dubliner to bounce back from his second-round submission loss last March, so he’s been studying Diaz closely.

“I’ve watched a lot of videos of Nate,” said Wallace. “He’s a tall southpaw and he’s very dangerous with the right hand. I’ve been watching what he does and I’ll be trying to do exactly that to help Conor to prepare for the fight.”

Wallace added: “He’s doing all the right things now that he didn’t do the last time — sparring southpaws and working on a lot of different stuff that he didn’t work on the last time. He knows Nate’s strengths and weaknesses now so I think you’re going to see a different result.” 

Rio 2016 came a little too soon for Conor Wallace, who only turned 20 in April, but he’s aiming to emulate the likes of Katie Taylor, Paddy Barnes and Mick Conlan by securing an Olympic medal in Tokyo in four years’ time.

He’s progressing well too. After winning the Irish Intermediate title last October, he gave a very good account of himself in the Elite middleweight final in December before eventually coming up short against World Championship bronze medallist Michael O’Reilly, who’ll be one of Ireland’s top medal hopes in Brazil this summer.

“Going out to Vegas with Conor McGregor is a massive opportunity for me,” said Wallace. “The exposure I’m going to get out there with one of the biggest sports stars in the world, it’s going to be huge for me and my coach. And you’d never know who you’ll bump into out there. It could put my name on the map.”

Extra dimension added to Diaz-McGregor rivalry as team-mates Lobov and Avila set to clash

‘Cowboy’ Cerrone and ‘Rumble’ Johnson added as Diaz-McGregor card takes shape

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.