- Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s team has already met with the UFC’s boss, Dana White, regarding a fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov.
- White refuses to entertain a boxing-rules contest between his lightweight champion Nurmagomedov and Mayweather.
- This is because he already sent one of his best athletes to the ring last year, when Mayweather coasted to a 10th-round stoppage win over Conor McGregor.
- White now wants to bring Mayweather to the UFC but did begrudgingly acknowledge there was one man who could change his mind: Nurmagomedov.
- Nurmagomedov has floated a two-fight deal that would see one bout using boxing rules and the other using mixed-martial-arts rules.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s representative has met with the UFC’s boss, Dana White, to discuss a fight with the company’s lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, and it could involve a groundbreaking two-fight deal.
Nurmagomedov’s stock in combat sports has never been higher after he stunned the Irish striker Conor McGregor with a fourth-round submission at UFC 229 on October 6.
Since then, speculation about a crossover bout between Nurmagomedov and the retired American boxer Mayweather has been headline news as both athletes have spoken positively about a deal.
“I had a meeting yesterday in Los Angeles about this,” White told ESPN on Thursday. “I don’t want to say anything that’s going to make it sound like, ‘Wow, this could happen,’ but we had talks yesterday.”
Mayweather said last month that he was fighting Nurmagomedov, but the former five-weight world champion boxer had one stipulation – the bout had to be fought using boxing rules.
This did not appear to perturb Nurmagomedov, who met with the Russian Boxing Federation in October. He even posted a statement on Instagram claiming the fight could attract 100,000 spectators to the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow and generate “a world record for the sale of paid broadcasts.”
But a boxing-rules contest is something White has refused to entertain. White has already sent one of his athletes to the boxing ring for a fight against Mayweather, when McGregor lost a 10th-round stoppage in 2017. Because of this, he wants to bring Mayweather into the UFC, for a fight using mixed-martial-arts rules.
White said earlier in the week that if Mayweather wanted to fight, he had to fight a “real fight”– a real fight meaning a UFC bout, not one in which combatants are barred from kicking, wrestling, or choking each other.
“I don’t think it’s going to happen,” he told ESPN. “I don’t think the fight would happen in the UFC, but they didn’t say no.”
He added: “We went over there, we boxed him, and if he wants to do it again, he’s gotta come fight in the UFC. I don’t think it’s very realistic at all, but the boxing match happened … so we’ll see.”
White said there would be “no boxing match” but conceded his mind could be changed by Nurmagomedov, providing it was something the Russian wrestler really wanted.
“Obviously if it was something that Khabib really wanted to do, we’d sit down and talk about it, but I don’t like anything about it,” he said. “I haven’t talked to Khabib about it at all. His interest needs to be defending his title over here. That’s what he should be focused on.”
But Nurmagomedov is not focused on defending his UFC title. As previously mentioned, he has already discussed a boxing-rules fight in Russia, and he reportedly told beIN Sports earlier in the week that one way an agreement with Mayweather could be struck was by negotiating a groundbreaking two-fight deal – one using boxing rules and another in the UFC.
“If we make a bilateral agreement with Floyd Mayweather, the fans will be pleased,” he said, according to talkSport.
“The first match in the ring and the second in the cage, then this would be real,” he said. “I want to test myself in boxing once, that’s fair.”