The circus is back in town. Or maybe it never actually went away…
Floyd Mayweather is giving out strong hints of a potential UFC debut after confirming training and intentions of applying for an MMA licence.
We thought the dust had definitely settled from the absolute media beast that was Mayweather-McGregor. The sporting world had reached a consensus that the experiment of putting a 0-0 boxing novice against a 49-0 veteran was financially worth it but, in terms of pure competition, did not live up to its expectations.
Mayweather finished the job in August of last year by stopping Conor McGregor in the tenth round. After countless rumours, whispers, the actual fight itself and its aftermath, here we are again.
In a short but informative interview with TMZ Sports, Mayweather confirmed his proper mixed martial arts training will commence soon under the tutelage of current UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.
‘Money’ teased the public with short clips of him in a cage alone and also published a couple of photoshopped MMA related pictures of himself earlier this year, causing serious speculation about his MMA debut.
Same old story
‘It’s just noise and Floyd being Floyd,’ said many following the story. Purists even went as far as implying that Mayweather was just messing with Golden Boy Promotions by trying to hijack the spotlight away from Oscar De La Hoya’s massive Gennady Golovkin versus Canelo Alvarez rematch on May 5.
But with Mayweather’s recent public statements, it’s not just smoke and mirrors anymore. And it wasn’t last time either, when McGregor entered boxing.
‘No way could Mayweather ever step inside a steel cage and take on a professional MMA fighter. However, he’s going to’
The whole narrative is being repeated by Floyd under a familiar blueprint set out by ‘The Notorious.’
First, it was McGregor publishing subtle hints on social media of him in boxing gloves and making public statements about potentially stepping into a ring to box Mayweather for a $100m.
The audience laughed and the media got a great chuckle out of it, too. It was supposed to be just a crazy little thought from McGregor that had nothing to do with reality.
Even when Floyd fired back in the media publicly, we still lived under the belief that it’s just two dogs barking at each other with tight leashes around their necks and a big fence in the middle.
No way could McGregor ever step into a boxing ring and take on a world champion. However, he did.
No way could Mayweather ever step inside a steel cage and take on a professional MMA fighter. However, he’s going to.
Mixed ‘Money’ Arts
As is custom in prizefighting, it comes down to the figures.
The UFC have been struggling recently simply due to its lack of starpower. Former women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey has switched to professional wrestling, leaving the UFC for WWE.
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is still under investigation over a positive drugs test, and it’s safe to say he won’t be returning anytime soon.
The knight in shining armour is McGregor, and the Irishman has confirmed his return to the octagon for 2018. But he alone is not enough.
Getting Mayweather to step into a UFC cage will cost a pretty penny, but the powers-that-be are willing to pay whatever it costs since they need to be relevant again in mainstream media in the biggest way possible.
It’s another business move that attracts both sides. The boxing audience will undoubtedly want to see what Mayweather can do in a UFC fight. Haters and fans alike will show their interest in hopes of a Mayweather upset victory or a violent defeat.
As for the UFC crowd, it is a chance for some payback. McGregor took the risk and represented the sport when stepping into the lion’s den in Las Vegas last summer.
Mayweather is looking to do the same, potentially later this year, and the MMA hordes will be salivating and dreaming of the boxing great being outclassed in the octagon.
Nothing is set in stone just yet, but all signs and statements from the 41-year-old point towards another mega-fight involving two superstars – just as those powers-that-be probably planned even before the first encounter.