Steve Collins says McGregor is “the Greatest Fighter that Ireland has Produced”

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Former WBO middleweight and super-middleweight champion Steve Collins believes that ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor is the “greatest fighter that Ireland has produced”.

‘The Celtic Warrior’ visited SBG Ireland’s Naas Road facility earlier this week to see McGregor go through his last preparations for UFC 196 on March 5, where he will endeavor to become the first fighter in the history of the UFC to hold titles at two different weight classes simultaneously.

The Irish boxing great was asked whether he thought McGregor would be remembered as one of the greatest Irish fighters based on his achievements in the Octagon thus far:

“He’ll definitely be remembered as one of the greatest fighters this country has produced, in fact, I already think he’s the greatest fighter Ireland has produced,” Collins told Fightland. “He’s a savage once he steps in to fight, but he’s a complete gentleman outside of the ring. That’s it. He’s going to be a double weight world champion, without a doubt.”

Collins is confident that McGregor can be an even better fighter at a heavier weight class as he prepares for his first bout at lightweight against divisional champ Rafael Dos Anjos.

“I’ve met Conor a few times, but when I visited him ahead of this fight I was very impressed with his mindset. His preparation has obviously gone really well. He looks like a total powerhouse. I’m expecting to see an even better fighter than we saw in his last fight. I really feel like that extra weight is going to be a massive advantage to him.

“He’s definitely the best I’ve ever seen him since I began to follow his career. I know I haven’t been following him from the very early days, but this step up in weight is going to be a huge benefit for him. I’m ready to see a much stronger fighter next time out, and a better fighter.

“When I saw him stripped off for the last fight he was so lean. He had dropped a lot of weight and that was obvious from looking at him. He looked skinny to me, but I know that he’s incredibly lean. Seeing him like that, and although he performed amazingly well, I can see the extra few pounds being an advantage.

“Not only will he be stronger, but he will have more stamina too. I think he’s going to need that stamina too because this guy he’s facing is a very good grappler. He’s going to be trying to wear Conor down and use up his energy. I can see that extra weight helping him if he gets into those kinds of situations.”

Collins was famed for his game planning and his mind games with opponents in his prime, and he believes it is the “strong mind” of his fellow Dubliner that has allowed him to achieve so much in the fight game.

“I do understand that he has a very strong mind and that allows him to do what he’s doing very well. It’s clear how smart Conor is from the way he handles the mental side of the sport, even when he is dealing with the media. It’s a pleasure to watch him going about his business.”

As for McGregor’s critics, Collins explained that success always brings its fair share of “knockers and begrudgers” along with it.

“You only get knockers and begrudgers when you’re successful. When you reach a certain level of success, a lot of people will come out trying to knock you out of jealousy or whatever, and that’s a problem that successful people have to deal with. Conor is very successful and there is some jealousy out there. But why would he listen to them? They’re fools that have accomplished nothing,” he laughed.

@PetesyCarroll

Ireland's leading MMA media outlet. Home of Severe MMA Podcast. Producers of 'Notorious,' 'The Fighting Irish' & other MMA docus