Boxing great Floyd Mayweather Jr. (pictured) is discussing a deal to fight in the UFC. Yes, you read that sentence correctly.
UFC president Dana White confirmed their ongoing negotiations with Maywather to ESPN.com.
“We’re talking to Floyd about doing a UFC deal,” White stated. “It’s real. He was talking about [boxing] Conor McGregor. Was that real? Have you heard Floyd talk about many things that aren’t real? He usually tips his hand when he’s in the media, and then that sh*t ends up happening.
“We’re interested in doing something with Floyd. Everything is a realistic possibility. Mayweather vs. McGregor fuc*ing happened. Anything is possible.”
Mayweather, arguably the greatest boxer of all time, has never fought in a mixed martial arts bout – amateur or professional. UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor had never boxed as an amateur or pro before banking a reported $100 million to box Mayweather in August, so there’s that.
Mayweather reportedly scored north of $300 million for posting the 10th round TKO victory, which bumped his professional boxing record to an unblemished 50-0.
Mayweather told Fight Hype earlier this month that jumping into the UFC pond was a definite possibility.
“They just called me not too long ago and asked me to come back,” said Mayweather. “I can come right back. If I wanted to, I can come right back to the UFC. I can go fight in the Octagon. I can do a three- or four-fight deal in the Octagon and make a billion dollars. Remember, I’m Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather.”
Old school, hardcore MMA fans scoff at the notion of this coming to fruition. However, don’t forget the UFC’s new owners, WME-IMG, plopped down a whopping $4 billion to purchase the mixed martial arts promotion 17 months ago and are eager recoup some of their investment.
WME-IMG was more than happy to allow McGregor, their lone cash cow, to enter the boxing ring to face Mayweather for a monster payday.
White seems to believe Mayweather is serious. At the very least, White’s taking a never-say-never approach to it.
“There was no way I thought that fight was going to happen, but when you sit down with a smart guy like [Mayweather adviser] Al Haymon, a very intelligent guy, anything is possible,” White said. “And Floyd, as much as he does the money thing and this and that, Floyd was actually very easy to work with. I was impressed.”
It’s not as though UFC fans haven’t seen this before. Former boxing champion James Toney signed a multi-fight deal with the UFC at the age of 42. He was completely humiliated by former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champ Randy Couture at UFC 118 in 2010.
Couture easily took Toney down within 15 seconds and submitted him minutes later. Toney never entered the octagon again.
Moreover, at lest Toney was an accomplished fighter. The UFC pulled off an even bigger circus freak show move when they signed former WWE superstar Phil “CM Punk” Brooks in late 2014. Brooks had absolutely no professional fighting experience and it showed in his MMA debut against Mickey Gall at UFC 203.
Gall, who had just two pro bouts under his belt, annihilated Brooks on the ground for an easy submission victory. Brooks said he wants to give MMA another go, but White said he was most likely done in the UFC.
That’s the same challenge Mayweather faces. While he might have precise hands to compliment the best defense boxing has ever seen, takedown defense will be his kryptonite.
Mayweather turns 41 in February.