Nevada State Athletic Commission head Bob Bennett recently revealed his reasoning for providing UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor with a boxing license for his incipient match up with Floyd Mayweather Jr. The commission head believes Conor McGregor’s fights against UFC lightweight contender Nate Diaz had a large influence on his decision.
In an interview with Sky Sports, Bob Bennett said
“I reviewed UFC 202 which was a perfect indicator of Conor’s boxing abilities. Then I gave renowned trainer Virgil Hunter a call. I said: ‘I heard Diaz was a sparring partner for Andre Ward?’ Virgil confirmed that Diaz has sparred with Ward at least 12 times. As we know, Ward was a world super-middleweight champion and now a light-heavyweight champion.
“Virgil believes that Diaz could have been a world class boxer if he hadn’t become an MMA fighter. Virgil holds Diaz’s boxing ability in high regard. But then look at UFC 202 when McGregor fought Diaz, predominantly striking. McGregor knocked down Diaz in the first and second rounds. McGregor took some hellacious shots to his jaw from Diaz, and they didn’t move him. McGregor fired a number of shots that hurt Diaz.
“Watching McGregor in that fight did contribute to me finding [the Mayweather fight] approvable.”