There’s always been a sense that there’s a great rivalry between boxing and MMA, and while to some extent that may be true, that doesn’t mean that the two sides of the combat sports equation can’t get along and learn from each other.
In this article we’ll look at 10 examples of boxing greats opening their doors to UFC stars to help them sharpen their skills in the art of the ‘sweet science.
Freddie Roach – GSP
Once a boxer himself with a 40-13 record, Freddie Roach retired at only 26 years old after showing signs of Parkinson’s Disease, but has become one of the greatest boxing trainers of all-time, coaching champions like Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr at his famous Wild Card gym.
Though he admits to having limited interest in MMA as a sport, Roach has always had an open-door policy for MMA stars looking to improve their boxing ability, and over the years he’s worked with the likes of Anderson Silva, BJ Penn and Andrei Arlovski.
However, by far and away his strongest link to MMA has been with UFC legend Georges St-Pierre, who he has become close friends with in addition to helping train him for several fights.
Roach’s handiwork was clearly evident in St-Pierre’s win over Josh Koscheck all the way back at UFC 124 in 2010, with the Canadian superstar making excellent use of the jab to control the fight for all five rounds, breaking his opponents orbital bone along the way.
St-Pierre has continued to train with Roach in the years since and he even had him in his corner for his last fight, a middleweight title-winning victory over Michael Bisping in 2017.
Roach had been instrumental in making that fight happen, as after initial talks fell through he personally reached out to Dana White to broker the deal for GSP’s return to action.