Chris van Heerden became a familiar name to MMA fans last year, after the former boxing champ sparred with Conor McGregor, and more recently, the South African fighter’s been in the MMA news again.
After it was announced that McGregor is going to box Floyd Mayweather on August, van Heerden posted footage of him sparring the UFC champ last year. Van Heerden said he did so to show that if he could land on McGregor, Mayweather certainly will be able to. Van Heerden’s also been fielding questions about Paulie Malignaggi’s departure from McGregor’s camp, since “The Heat” also accused the Irish star’s team of misrepresenting their sparring session last year.
Well, recently Fight Hub TV caught up with van Heerden, in advance of Mayweather – McGregor this Saturday. While discussing the bout, the decorated fighter made the following claim (quote via Bad Left Hook):
“In a boxer’s world we are so trained everyday, everyday when we spar we get tagged on the jaw. So we’re used to that where I feel they are so focused on the ground work, on the kicking, on the grappling, on the wrestling, a little bit on the boxing — they don’t perfect one thing. It’s hard to perfect one thing and when they do get hit hard on the jaw it’s like a surprise to them, it’s like ‘whoa!’ and they go down so easy. It’s funny.
“…I feel the massive difference between MMA fighters when it comes to boxing, and boxers when it comes to boxing, is that we are trained to fight in combinations. We are trained to throw four, five, six, seven punches in a combination where MMA fighters are not trained to throw combinations…”
The comments regarding shots to the jaw is particularly interesting, as it’s one that a lot of fighters, fans and observers in MMA are likely going to take issue with.
Van Heerden was also asked about what he experienced when he sparred McGregor, in terms of his power. Van Heerden noted that they were wearing 16-ounce gloves, but he said he wasn’t “fazed” by McGregor’s power at all…