The man they call “Money” has never been shy about making big claims and setting lofty goals for himself.
Floyd Mayweather is unquestionably one of the best boxers of this generation. He’s amassed a 50-0 record, and won championships in multiple weight classes. MMA fans who weren’t familiar with the boxing legend got to know him, thanks to a cross-promotional bout between Mayweather and MMA standout Conor McGregor.
The trash talk and hype leading up to the fight was a big deal for both sports, with McGregor touting his striking ability and feeling confident he could topple one of boxing’s absolute best.
Mayweather also made some curious claims, at one point even stating he believed he could take McGregor in an MMA fight. McGregor has been considered a pound-for-pound great for years now. He ended Jose Aldo’s legendary featherweight title reign with a single punch. He went on to dethrone lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, making McGregor the third man to win UFC titles in two weight classes, and the first man to hold two UFC titles simultaneously.
McGregor hasn’t defended either belt, which has led to the creation of interim titles and elicited a great deal of negative feedback from fight fans. They want to see fighters compete consistently – but having a first-timer make the jump to the sport is also an alluring prospect, especially when that man has a history of excellence in combat sports.
At one time, Mayweather’s MMA ambitions seemed like nothing more than words with little substance to back them. But now UFC president Dana White confirmed the promotion is discussing a deal with Mayweather.
“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 (expletive) ends up happening.”
McGregor’s bout with Mayweather may have fallen short of breaking the record for pay-per-view buys, but it did set a big precedent in combat sports. It showed that with the right planning and promotion, anything is possible.
This wouldn’t be the first time a boxer made their MMA debut in the UFC. Plenty of fighters have a boxing background, but there have also been a few pro boxers who made the leap quickly. James Toney made his UFC debut against Randy Couture, a man who has held UFC titles at heavyweight and light heavyweight. Toney was quickly taken down and submitted in the first round.
There have been success stories involving boxers in MMA as well. Roy Mercer may not have made it to the UFC, but he did square off against their former heavyweight champion in Tim Sylvia. Mercer landed a brutal punch seconds into the bout, finishing off Sylvia in what many considered to be a shocking upset.
Should Mayweather make the jump to MMA, it would be a huge deal. It’s hard to argue Mayweather wouldn’t be at a big disadvantage coming into a new sport, but it would be also foolish to say he had no chance of winning.