Floyd Mayweather Jr. is back in the combat sports spotlight after the boxing legend posted two videos to his social media accounts teasing a potential foray into mixed martial arts.
UFC superstar Conor McGregor, who fought Mayweather in a boxing match in August, said he was “excited” to hear about the videos and listed Mayweather as one of four possible opponents for when he eventually returns to the UFC.
The first video showed Mayweather entering an MMA-style cage in a training facility.
The second had Mayweather back in the cage saying, “2018. Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather. MMA. What are the odds, Paddy? What are the odds?”
Mayweather gets points for referencing Omar Little from The Wire with his “Come at the king, you best not miss…” caption, but is he seriously mulling a UFC bout against his Irish rival, or is it all merely a marketing ploy and a way for him to keep his name in the news?
“If it is, it will follow him for the rest of his days that he did not do it,” McGregor told independent video journalist Adam Glyn Wednesday night in New York. “I said I would do it and I stepped up and done it. It’s his time now.”
McGregor hasn’t competed in MMA since winning the UFC lightweight title in November 2016. His boxing match with Mayweather, in which he suffered a 10th-round TKO loss, was his only professional fight in 2017.
While it’s unknown when McGregor might next compete in the UFC, the 29-year-old is expected to return to the Octagon at some point in 2018.
“I’m currently in negotiations to face my next opponent and we have many options,” McGregor explained. “There’s current interim lightweight champion [Tony Ferguson]. There’s a undefeated Dagestani [Khabib Nurmagomedov]. There may be a big Russian event. There’s obviously the [Nate] Diaz trilogy. Of course, the Mayweather fight is there. There’s many options, so we’re just at the table at the moment.”
Dana White was a big part of the promotion in the lead-up to Mayweather-McGregor but the UFC president told reporters ahead of January’s UFC 220 event in Boston he isn’t interested in seeing another boxing match between the two garrulous megastars. White also said he “would never work with Showtime again” after an unpleasant experience with Showtime Sports executive Stephen Espinoza.
“If Floyd wants to fight in the Octagon and get out of his Showtime deal, let’s do it,” White said. “I think that’s the only way people would care this time. Do you know how many people want to see that guy take a shin to the face?”
McGregor was in New York City Wednesday to attend a Children’s Medical Research Foundation charity event at which he was honoured.
“I’m up for it. We’ll see what happens,” McGregor said in regards to another tilt with Mayweather. “He should [fight in the UFC]. I went into his game. He should come into mine.”
Asked how he thinks Mayweather might do in the UFC, McGregor rolled his eyes and asked “against who?” before adding, “I’d do as I pleased against him, but if he does do it—I know he’s flirting with it—I would have respect for him.”
Ferguson and Nurmagomedov are set to headline UFC 223 in April, while Diaz recently suggested he’s ready for a 2018 comeback of his own.
McGregor has been training regularly and travelled to New York with his MMA coach, John Kavanagh.
“The mind is clear, the body is sharp and we’re staying ready,” McGregor added.