Remember all the hoopla and buildup leading up to Floyd Mayweather’s first bout with Conor McGregor? The legendary boxer and the mercurial MMA sensation went back-and-forth via the media and social media for what felt like an eternity. Most figured an actual boxing match between the two would never actually happen…until it did.
It doesn’t often happen with high-profile events such as Mayweather-McGregor, but the fight actually lived up to billing. Most experts gave the bombastic Irishman little chance of defeating the unbeaten Mayweather, but he wound up holding his own over the course of 10 rounds before Mayweather kept his perfect record intact by earning a TKO.
While Mayweather’s triumph was the result most expected, the fact that McGregor didn’t get completely embarrassed despite having never boxed competitively in the past raised plenty of eyebrows. Naturally, the second the final bell sounded, speculation regarding a potential rematch began.
Things were relatively quiet on the rematch front for a few months, but we’re beginning to see hints that suggest the second bout may be just around the corner.
While the first fight went down in a boxing ring, might there be a twist in store for the potential second go-round? In a recent live video stream Q&A session with fans, Mayweather said that UFC recently called him and asked if he would be interested in a fight in the octagon. Mayweather essentially said that he would consider it if the price was right, but, obviously, we know he’s a guy prone to hyperbole.
On the morning of February 11, however, Mayweather once again took to social media to take a shot at McGregor.
The post seemed unprovoked, but it didn’t take long for McGregor to issue his retort.
We have no concrete details regarding a rematch yet, but could Mayweather-McGregor 2 soon be a reality?
Money is Complicated
We know Mayweather isn’t going to risk stepping foot in the octagon unless he’s getting paid. The boxer with a career record of 50-0 pocketed about $300 million for his previous triumph over McGregor last August. If Mayweather is going to risk being humiliated by McGregor on the Irishman’s turf, the payday is going to have to be worth his while.
In all likelihood, that means Mayweather is probably going to have an asking price north of $500 million to fight McGregor under MMA rules. That’s an awful lot of cash, and it remains to be seen whether UFC can even afford such a thing. The boxing match between the pair generated more than $600 million in revenue, most of which came via pay-per-view services.
Would Mayweather put his legacy on the line just to make more money? One would imagine so. Even if he risks being ridiculed for getting smoked by McGregor in the octagon, the guy is still going to be banking hundreds of millions of dollars for his efforts. McGregor would certainly command a hefty salary of his own, but it’s always going to be Mayweather getting the last laugh, even in what would appear to be inevitable defeat.
Mayweather entering a different cage under different rules would probably generate even more interest than the initial clash did, and that’s saying something.
For his part, it sounds as though McGregor would be happy to welcome Mayweather into the octagon. When asked about the prospects of facing Mayweather in a UFC bout, McGregor recently said, “I’m excited, let’s see. I just landed, so I’ll check it out. But I’m up for it. I went into his game. He should come into mine”
Could the Fight Come in McGregor’s UFC Return?
We haven’t seen McGregor in a UFC fight since UFC 205, way back in November of 2016. McGregor defeated Eddie Alvarez via TKO to claim the lightweight belt, and in doing so, he became the first person in the history of UFC to hold a pair of titles at the same time. He also holds the featherweight title.
It’s currently not looking likely that McGregor’s return bout to UFC will come with Mayweather installed as the opponent. McGregor still needs to defend his aforementioned lightweight title, with some speculating that his return could come sometime during the summer of 2018.
McGregor recently disclosed that he and his representatives have been in negotiations with UFC regarding the terms of his return. There are a number of prospective opponents out there, including current interim lightweight titleholder Tony Ferguson and the unbeaten Khabib Nurmagomedov. McGregor could also make his return for a third fight against Nate Diaz.
Could Mayweather win?
Despite plenty of betting money coming in on McGregor ahead of the fight, the general consensus prior to last August’s fight was that he had no chance to take down Mayweather, who bested Rocky Marciano by running his record to 50-0 with the win.
If Mayweather commits to an MMA rematch, the narrative will do a complete 180. While the 40-year-old Mayweather’s boxing legacy is peerless, mixed martial arts is a different game altogether.
Mayweather spends most of his time in the boxing ring dodging his opponent’s punches. He waits until they tire themselves out trying to land blows. Once the opponent is fatigued, that’s when Floyd typically pounces. While that much-maligned strategy has paid off for him in boxing, being slippery and elusive doesn’t play as well in MMA.
Rather than trying to land a punch on him as he dances and bobs around the ring, someone like McGregor can just tackle Mayweather to the ground and pin him, which would certainly render Mayweather’s escape tactics useless.
While McGregor would surely enter the fight as a massive betting favorite, one ex-UFCer isn’t going to write Money off completely. UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber recently said that Mayweather would stand a “puncher’s chance” if the fight were to go down. He added, “Obviously the gameplan for Conor, in an MMA fight, is to take Floyd down (to the ground).But every MMA fight starts on the feet, standing. And Floyd has got some of the best hands in the world.”
While that is a fair point, it’s equally fair to wonder whether Mayweather has the physical strength to handle someone like McGregor in the octagon. While he says the fight would exceed expectations, Faber noted that he still thinks the notion of Mayweather entering the UFC fray is a long shot.
He said, “I would seriously, seriously doubt there would ever be an MMA fight between Conor and Floyd. Conor put his pride aside, said he wanted to test his skill set as a professional boxer, and of course, he had a long history of being a stand-up fighter. If Floyd wants to put his pride aside the same way, great. But I doubt it will happen because he’s kind of old to be jumping into a brand new sport”
Sure, given the obstacles at hand, maybe wishing to see Floyd Mayweather get into the octagon isn’t a sure thing.
McGregor will be eager for the chance to avenge his aforementioned loss, while Mayweather didn’t earn the nickname “Money” for no reason. Trading a physical beating for the opportunity to pocket a few extra hundred million dollars is probably worth it for Floyd.