Dana White on Mayweather vs. Khabib Fight: 'I Don't Think It's Going to Happen'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 1, 2018

In this photo taken on Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov delivers a speech to support Anzhi Makhachkala's players before the Russian Primer League soccer match between CSKA Moscow and Anzhi Makhachkala in Makhachkala, Russia. From 2011 to 2013, Anzhi’s vast spending made waves around the world as the likes of Samuel Eto’o and Roberto Carlos came to play in a region until then better known for its Islamist insurgency, but now Anzhi Makhachkala is struggling to survive. (AP Photo/Denis Tyrin)
Denis Tyrin/Associated Press

Following Khabib Nurmagomedov's victory over Conor McGregor on Oct. 6, buzz has developed around a potential matchup between him and retired boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.

But UFC President Dana White told ESPN's Get Up! on Thursday that, while he's been in contact with Mayweather's camp, he doesn't believe a fight between Nurmagomedov and Mayweather will take place.

"I actually had a meeting yesterday in Los Angeles about this," White said (h/t Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com). "I don't want to say anything that makes it sound like, 'Oh wow, this could happen.' But we had talks yesterday. I don't think it's going to happen. I don't think the fight would happen in the UFC, but they didn't say no."

White also made it clear that another crossover event between a UFC fighter and Mayweather would need to be a UFC event, with UFC rules:

"We went over there, we boxed him. If he wants to do it again, he has to come to the UFC. I don't think it's realistic at all, but I didn't think the [McGregor] boxing match was either. So, we'll see.

"There's a reason Floyd Mayweather wants to fight my guys: There's big money there for him. Obviously, there's big money there for us, but I'm not into making those kind of fights. If Floyd wants to come over here—he says he's been wrestling and doing this or that—if he wants to come over and fight in the UFC, he's more than welcome."

It's hard to imagine Mayweather (50-0) signing up for a fight against Nurmagomedov (27-0) under the UFC's rules. Nurmagomedov slowly and methodically broke down McGregor, a seasoned MMA fighter, with his superb wrestling and ground-and-pound aggression. Mayweather would stand even less of a chance in such a fight.

Granted, if Mayweather kept the fight on its feet, he'd defeat Nurmagomedov easily. McGregor proved to be the far superior boxer to Nurmagomedov in their match, and had he kept the fight upright, he would have held the advantage. But McGregor was unable to do so, and it's hard to imagine Mayweather would fare any better in that regard. 

Even if Nurmagomedov were interested in fighting Mayweather in a boxing match, White suggested he wouldn't approve such a matchup.

"I haven't talked to Khabib about it at all," White said of a potential boxing matchup with Mayweather. "His interest needs to be in defending his title over here. That's what he should be focused on."

Given Nurmagomedov's exclusive contract with the UFC, White will have the final say. But other factors could play a role as well, most notably Nurmagomedov's potential punishment from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which is holding half of his purse from the McGregor fight after he rushed into the crowd to confront one member of McGregor's entourage following his victory.

Nurmagomedov is still facing potential fines or even a suspension for his actions, which could affect the timing of any Mayweather fight. Given White's comments Thursday, however, it appears such a matchup is a long shot at best.

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