Sports analysts were buzzing in mid-December when it was announced that boxing great Floyd Mayweather was considering making the leap to mixed martial arts.
The closest he’s come so far is facing UFC multi-division champ Conor McGregor in a high-profile boxing match. But while the man they call ‘Money’ was able to extend his record to 50-0 at McGregor’s expense, many wondered how he’d do out of his comfort zone.
McGregor was game in the fight, but Mayweather’s overwhelming experience advantage allowed him to stay in control of the bout. He was never in any trouble, and dispatched McGregor after the Irishman appeared to tire in the later rounds.
Everyone who has watched Mayweather knows his boxing skills are on another level – but how would these skills translate into MMA? There have been controversies about his supposed comments. Some sources report that Mayweather said MMA isn’t a possibility for him, while others maintain this could simply be his way of keeping things quiet until an official bout materializes.
That may not take long – there are plenty of UFC stars who would be willing to welcome Mayweather to the octagon. One of these is Demetrious Johnson, the promotion’s inaugural flyweight champion who just broke the record for successful title defenses with 11.
In spite of criticisms about his level of competition, Johnson has stayed atop the pound-for-pound list with his consistent fighting schedule and his ability to dispatch challengers in emphatic fashion. His most recent octagon outing was against Ray Borg, where Johnson won by transitioning a back suplex into an armbar – a technique never before seen in the UFC.
But Johnson took things a step further with his challenge to Mayweather. He even offered to take grappling out of the equation. While Mayweather may not be used to defending elbows, knees, and kicks in his own sport, keeping things on the feet would undoubtedly make him feel more comfortable about his chances.
Johnson spoke about his chances against Mayweather in the octagon: “100 percent (I would win)…I’d probably get that liver. I’d probably get after that liver. Have to get after that liver. Beat him up in the Muay Thai clinch because he likes to clinch a lot”
Mayweather’s huge name and star power would make his UFC debut a major event, if it ever happened. There’s no way of knowing whether UFC management would allow him to compete against a dangerous opponent like Johnson, or whether they’d give him a warm-up fight to help him adjust to the sport.
Johnson has all but cleaned out his own division, putting down every challenger that steps in front of him. Despite usually being at a size disadvantage even in the promotion’s lightest weight class, Johnson has shown he is a force to be feared in the cage.
Many people hoped that Johnson would participate in a super fight with bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw. Dillashaw regained his title after defeating Cody Garbrandt at UFC 217.
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