UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has followed the example of recently vanquished foe Conor McGregor by challenging boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr. to a fight.
Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, posted a video to his Instagram on Sunday alongside Nurmagomedov, who suggested the two undefeated fighters should put their records to the test:
“Let's go Floyd. We have to fight now: 50-0 versus 27-0. We are two guys who never lose. ... Because in the jungle there is only one king. Of course, I am the king because he cannot drop McGregor, but I drop him easily. Let's go."
It didn't take Mayweather long to respond to the challenge, asking CBS, Showtime and the MGM Grand to "get the checkbook out":
Nurmagomedov could be indefinitely suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission for the part he played in the post-UFC 229 drama at the T-Mobile Arena, where he jumped the Octagon fence to attack mixed martial artist Dillon Danis in the audience.
Danis is a part of McGregor's coaching setup and was attacked after allegedly taunting Nurmagomedov, per MMA journalist Ariel Helwani (tweet contains NSFW language):
A venture into boxing could be the wisest next step for the UFC's lightweight titleholder if he's to capitalise on his current hype, having submitted The Notorious in the fourth round to take his record to 27-0.
Zubaira Tukhugov was part of Nurmagomedov's training camp and was involved in the melee also, hopping into the cage and aiming several bare-knuckle jabs at the just-defeated McGregor as the furore escalated.
Nurmagomedov has threatened to quit the UFC if fighter Tukhugov is fired, as has been suggested, leading rapper 50 Cent to offer The Eagle a hefty payday if he signed for rival promotion Bellator:
SportsCenter recently provided an update as to when we can expect a final decision on the two MMA fighters' immediate futures:
Breaking: Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov will be temporarily suspended on Oct. 15, according to Nevada Athletic Commission Executive Director Bob Bennett. A hearing will take place on Oct. 24 on whether they should be indefinitely suspended pending their investigations. https://t.co/YfM0nOkIe6
McGregor said in November 2017—several months after his 11th-round loss to Mayweather in August that year—that he took home around $100 million for the bout, having been guaranteed $30 million, per Forbes' Trent Reinsmith.
It's easy to see why Nurmagomedov may fancy taking his craft to the four-sided circle with those figures in mind.
It was expected wrestling star Nurmagomedov would stick to the ground game against striking specialist McGregor, but the Dagestani impressed on the feet also and held his own with the Dubliner standing up.
Any hopes to meet Mayweather are complicated by the fact he's currently retired. What's more, a second meeting with Manny Pacquiao has been mooted for a comeback fixture, although Bob Arum told TMZ he won't be promoting it:
There are no guarantees of that date, though, and Nurmagomedov could be a terrific opportunity for the 50-0 man. He's already beaten The Notorious, but interest in The Eagle is now high, and he'd offer Mayweather a route back to relevance—something he's rarely been able to ignore.