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14 Nov, 2019 12:22

'What better trainer could I have?' Tyson Fury to spar ‘soon’ with UFC star McGregor ahead of potential MMA switch

'What better trainer could I have?' Tyson Fury to spar ‘soon’ with UFC star McGregor ahead of potential MMA switch

Undefeated heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury continues to ponder a move to mixed martial arts, reiterating to Irish radio that he will soon travel to Dublin to begin MMA training with former UFC champ Conor McGregor.

Tyson Fury will certainly have his hands full if, as expected, he renews his rivalry with Deontay Wilder next February but 'The Gypsy King' has appeared increasingly open to extra-curricular activities outside the boxing ring as evidenced by his recent appearances under the WWE banner but if the world of professional wrestling doesn't quite make the most of Fury's true talents, he says that they would come to fore should he ever transition from boxing to MMA.

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Fury recently spent time with UFC middleweight Darren Till in his Liverpool training base learning the basics of mixed martial arts, where 'The Gorilla' put him through his paces in the arts of defending takedowns, working against the cage and integrating elbow and knee strikes into his already concussive arsenal of blows and, as he said on Today with Miriam O'Callaghan on Ireland's RTÉ Radio 1, he is set to continue his MMA apprenticeship under the tutelage of Conor McGregor.

"I think Conor is an absolutely fantastic fighting man," Fury said. "He has offered to train me if I ever want to go into MMA. What better trainer could I have than the Notorious Conor McGregor?

"I'm looking forward to coming to train with Conor. We're going to get it all planned in and I should be over in Dublin quite soon.

"I'll definitely be coming over for a training session, that is for sure. I have been MMA training in the last week with Darren Till in Liverpool. I really enjoy the new challenge."

Should an official transition ever take place, Fury would immediately become the most successful boxer to ever switch fighting codes. Another world champion, James Toney, was in his early forties when he accepted a UFC bout opposite Hall of Fame fighter Randy Couture but he was unable to prevent a submission defeat just over three minutes into the first round. 

Ray Mercer, a former WBO heavyweight champion, had more success in what amounted to a 9-second mixed martial arts career, knocking out former UFC champion Tim Sylvia in the opening exchange of a 2009 contest between the two. 

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Fury, though, says that he intends to bring a more well-rounded game into any mixed martial arts fight he takes in the future but said that his day job must take precedence for the time being.

"I don't know where or when [I'll move into MMA] because after I finish my boxing career I fancy my hand at MMA as well."

Even if Fury never sets foot inside a cage, his current career trajectory is a remarkable one. It wasn't long ago that the 6 ft 9in boxer was afflicted with depression which took a toll on his life and ballooned his weight to nearly 400lbs and he credits his training for turning his life completely around.

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"It was an uphill battle," Fury said of his battle to regain his physical and mental health. "It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do.

"All the time I was trying to lose the 10 stone (140lbs) I was still mentally unwell. I couldn’t go to sleep without the light on in the house. I always wanted to be around people. I couldn’t be on my own.

"That continued for a couple of training camps. Without the mental breakdown I had, I wouldn’t be able to be happy today because I’d still be balling it all up."