Cruz explains why McGregor should fight like Bernard Hopkins, not Marcos Maidana

In the lead up to ‘The Money Fight’ this weekend, Conor McGregor has received advice from every corner of the globe about the approach he should use when fighting Floyd Mayweather.

It’s not easy to strategize for someone like Mayweather considering he’s 49-0 as a professional and has rarely been put into trouble during any of the fights during his 20-plus year career.

One particular fight that continues to come up whenever speaking about McGregor is the first matchup Mayweather had with Marcos Maidana from 2014.

On that night, Maidana surprised Mayweather and the world by nearly catching the multi-time champion with a barrage of overhand rights while aggressively going after him for all 12 rounds en route to a majority decision loss. Maidana turned the boxing match into a dog fight and plenty of experts have wondered if McGregor as an MMA fighter could use the same strategy to rough up Mayweather on Saturday night.

Former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, who will be working as an analyst for FOX during the fights, says that strategy couldn’t be further from what McGregor actually does well when he fights.

Instead, Cruz suggests that McGregor should look towards an iconic champion from boxing if he wants an idea of how he should approach the fight with Mayweather.

“Conor McGregor doesn’t have a style that anything resembles [Marcos] Maidana. Maidana throws reckless overhands and hooks and he had a good game plan and he hurt Mayweather but he didn’t beat him. McGregor, plain and simple, doesn’t throw punches anyway like Maidana does. Different styles, different timing, it’s different sharpness, it’s different power,” Cruz explained when speaking to the Fight Society podcast.

“I think that if you really want to use a real comparison for how McGregor could possibly try to fight Mayweather, it would be like how Bernard Hopkins fought everybody through his entire career. He throws some combos, he’d clinch, he dirty boxed, he’d throw combos, clinch, dirty box, get out, create space, he’d jab his way in, dirty box and that’s how we could see McGregor mix in a different game plan. But don’t forget, just like all these MMA fans want to see McGregor do that, make it ugly, boxing fans know that’s a tactic an MMA fighter would use because the tactician side for an MMA fighter wouldn’t be the same as a boxer.”

Considering McGregor will be the bigger, stronger fighter against Mayweather, he could certainly use the clinch and dirty boxing techniques to his advantage to try and maul his smaller opponent.

Unfortunately, Cruz isn’t sold that referee Robert Byrd will allow McGregor to use those techniques against Mayweather in the fight.

“It’s not that he couldn’t do it, it’s not that McGregor couldn’t fight that style like B-Hop against Mayweather, I just don’t think boxing’s going to let it happen,” Cruz said.

Regardless of the possible game plan McGregor will employ, Cruz still believes the Irishman has a path to victory against Mayweather despite the odds against him in this fight.

“A boxing match like this it’s tough for McGregor to win. Can he do it? Yes, I’d say he has about four to six rounds to get this done,” Cruz said. “If it goes six, I’d be shocked.

“McGregor has to try to finish Mayweather in six rounds.”

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.