Mayweather to start MMA training, talks up UFC bout

LOS ANGELES • And so the circus begins. Again. Former boxing world champion Floyd Mayweather could come out of retirement to compete as a mixed martial arts fighter.

He made tens of millions of dollars from his boxing fight against Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) champion Conor McGregor last year and appears ready to follow that up with an MMA bout.

He confirmed to TMZ Sports on Thursday that he plans to start training with UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley soon.

Mayweather, 41, said: "We talked a couple of times, so we gonna start working out real soon."

He beat McGregor easily in August to retire undefeated as a boxer and says he believes he could be a decent MMA fighter.

"I can wrestle. My wrestling game is not that bad," he said.

"On a scale from one to 10, it's probably a seven. And I think we can take it up to a nine if possible.

  • HOW MAYWEATHER RATES HIS MIXED MARTIAL ARTS SKILLS 

  • WRESTLING 7/10

  • HAND GAME 100

  • KICKING 4/10

"Of course, my hand game, on a scale of one to 10, is 100. My kicking game, on a scale from one to 10, is probably a four."

UFC has struggled slightly for mainstream publicity since Ronda Rousey's retirement and McGregor's lengthy absence - his last UFC fight came in November 2016.

If Mayweather comes on board, it would be a huge boost for its profile, if not for its legitimacy as a fighting organisation.

"We're talking to Floyd about doing a UFC deal," UFC president Dana White told ESPN in December . "It's real. He was talking about (boxing) Conor McGregor. Was that real? Have you heard Floyd talk about many things that aren't real? He usually tips his hand when he's in the media, and then that s*** ends up happening."

Mayweather has said he could make US$1 billion (S$1.31 billion) from a deal with UFC. His debut may be some way off, though.

"I haven't even started training yet," he told TMZ. "I'm in LA, moving around a little bit. It's all about presenting the right numbers.

"Of course, they gonna present the right numbers and we're going to make it happen."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 17, 2018, with the headline 'Mayweather to start MMA training, talks up UFC bout'. Print Edition | Subscribe