Another day, another rumored spectacle that Dana White has to shoot down.
The UFC president must be having deja vu after talks of a crossover bout between his promotion’s lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and boxing legend Floyd Mayweather became news this past week.
Nurmagomedov was recently seen with Mayweather Promotions’s CEO Leonard Ellerbe at a boxing show and Nurmagomedov (perhaps in jest) proceeded to issue a challenge, suggesting that Mayweather put his 50-0 boxing record on the line against Nurmagomedov’s 27-0 MMA record. Mayweather later expressed his interest on social media, writing, ‘Get the checkbook out’.
It was a little over a year ago that Mayweather, 41, was involved in a heavily hyped boxing match with UFC superstar Conor McGregor, but White told ESPN that any talk of another crossover fight for Mayweather is premature.
“Don’t pay attention to it,” White said. “First of all, the Mayweather team has not approached us at all. Khabib is under contract with the UFC. Floyd is very good about getting his name out there when he wants to.”
As was the case with McGregor ahead of his fight with Mayweather, Nurmagomedov has zero professional boxing experience; unlike McGregor, Nurmagomedov is more well known for his ability to take his opponents to the ground at will as opposed to his prodigious punching power. It’s worth noting that neither man mentioned what the ruleset would be for their hypothetical clash.
Still, Nurmagomedov’s manager Ali Abdelaziz told ESPN that he thinks Nurmagomedov’s sturdy chin and considerable size advantage would give Mayweather problems. And while White denies that there have been any formal talks, Abdelaziz is currently fielding a number of offers for his unbeaten client.
“I’m talking to everybody right now,” Abdelaziz said. “At the end of the day, Khabib is a UFC fighter. He has a contract with the UFC, and we respect the contract. ... But we’re open, if Floyd wants to box Khabib.
”You have a guy who is 50-0, a guy who is 27-0. Both have never tasted defeat. Khabib brings 2.5 billion Muslims around the world, some of the richest countries in the world, and they’re behind him. Floyd Mayweather is a megastar. Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather. If the two forces clash, that’s a real fight.”
Neither Nurmagomedov nor McGregor are likely to be fighting anywhere anytime soon. The Nevada Athletic Commission recently handed both men a temporary suspension with further sanctions potentially pending due to their involvement in the post-fight melee that followed their main event bout at UFC 229.