UFC star Conor McGregor has said he would relish the chance to negotiate a boxing match with retired boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Speaking in an interview with Gareth A. Davies of BT Sport, the Notorious was asked about the prospect of fighting the American boxer, who retired last year having won all 49 of his professional fights.
“I’m open to discussions, come at me,” said McGregor on a potential superfight. “But I hold the key and it’s me who holds the key to the fight game. I am open minded, I am open to discussion, I love competition, I love fighting. It would be nice to make that fight if the fans were interested and wanted to see it.”
It was then put to McGregor that any potential tussle between the pair would be a “billion dollar fight,” to which his response was, “I’m all about those numbers, Gareth, so I would definitely do that, no problem.”
The Irishman may be tempted by a possible showdown with Mayweather at some point down the line, but for the time being, he has pertinent matters in MMA to take care of.
Indeed, McGregor will be making his welterweight debut on Saturday at UFC 196, when he steps into the cage with Nate Diaz. The Notorious was initially scheduled to fight for the lightweight title against Rafael dos Anjos, but the Brazilian withdrew from the spectacle last week, with Diaz drafted in as a late replacement.
Mayweather has been out of boxing since September, and although many anticipated he wouldn’t be true to his word on retirement, there are no signs of him coming back to action any time soon.
“I had a great run,” he said in January, per Pete Gilbert of Sky Sports. “Ain't no more for this body to heal but rest.”
Still, for a man whose nickname is Money, the prospect of a billion dollar fight would surely be tempting. After all, the retired fighter has never been shy about his obsession with wealth, per his Twitter feed:
McGregor is also motivated by raking in big bucks, and UFC chairman Lorenzo Fertitta said in December he expects the Irishman to be the sport’s first competitor worth $100 million, per Darren Rovell of ESPN.
There’s already been some needling between the two fighters as well. Recently, Mayweather used the Irishman as an example for why racism is still prevalent in boxing, suggesting the pair are treated differently when it comes to the use of trash talk, per FightHype.com (h/t Ryan McKinnell of Yahoo Sports).
"They say he talks a lot of trash and people praise him for it, but when I did it, they say I'm cocky and arrogant," Mayweather said. "So biased! Like I said before, all I'm saying is this: I ain't racist at all, but I'm telling you racism still exists."
As the FightNights.com Twitter feed noted during this war of words, both men are divisive characters:
Floyd Mayweather and Adrien Broner do realize a lot of people hate Conor McGregor and Tyson Fury too right? Race has nothing to do with it.— FightNights.com™ (@boxing) January 17, 2016
All the factors seem to be in place for a potentially brilliant event, which would be well backed, superbly promoted and extremely lucrative.
However, as good as McGregor is at what he does in the Octagon, just because he’s well versed in a combat sport does not necessarily indicate he'd excel in a different discipline. And that probably means the prospect of this fight ever coming to fruition is a fantastical one rather than a feasible one.