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March 16, 2017
UFC president Dana White has offered his opinion on a potential showdown between the company’s lightweight champion Conor McGregor and legendary boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., insisting he believes the bout will happen.
Speculation has gathered pace in recent weeks that a fantasy fight between the two combat sports stars could come to fruition. White, speaking on Conan (h/t Brett Okamoto of ESPN) on Wednesday, outlined some potential complications, although he expressed his belief the deal will get over the line.
“I do think it’s going to happen,” the UFC chief said. “I think it’s going to be a tough deal, because, obviously, there are a lot of egos involved in this deal and a lot of people, so that always makes it tougher. [But] on the flip side, there’s so much money involved; I just don’t see how it doesn’t happen.”
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As Okamoto noted, White has previously been coy on the idea of McGregor’s taking on Mayweather, insisting in January it would be an “epic fail” for the Irishman to take part without the UFC’s go-ahead.
MMA journalist Luke Thomas outlined his opinion as to why the UFC may have changed its stance:
Luke Thomas @SBNLukeThomas
… Showdown they are ‘permitting’ McGregor to take Mayweather fight.
3/16/2017, 1:34:11 AM
Speaking at a promotional event in Liverpool, England, last week (h/t the Observer via the Guardian), Mayweather confirmed he was coming out of retirement to take on McGregor. “Simple and plain, let’s fight in June,” he said.
Further fuel was added to the fire when a report from Duane Finley of FloCombat stated the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas had been booked for June 10 for a potential meeting of the two men.
Mayweather has outlined his determination to fight McGregor.Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Indeed, what seemed to be a previously fantastical prospect is beginning to look increasingly feasible. In the same interview, White even offered his insight into how he felt this potential clash of styles and skills would go.
“McGregor is huge,” he said. “He’s in the prime of his career. Floyd is 40. Floyd has always had problems with southpaws; Conor is a southpaw, and Conor hits hard. When he hits people, they go. Floyd is definitely not knocking him out. That’s for sure.”
White didn’t pick McGregor to win specifically, although he suggested the scrap would at least be “interesting.”
Mayweather’s last professional bout came against Andre Berto in September 2015, after which he walked away from boxing with a perfect 49-fight record and his reputation secured as one of the best of all time.
McGregor was last in action at UFC 205 in November 2016, when he stopped Eddie Alvarez to be crowned lightweight champion. In winning the bout, he became the first fighter in UFC history to hold two titles at the same time, although he has since been stripped of the featherweight strap.