UFC President Dana White isn't saying it's close, but he did say he had a meeting about a proposed Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov bout, per ESPN. Aside from banter from both fighters, that's the first real acknowledgment of the rumored fight we've heard from White.
Because Nurmagomedov is under contract with the UFC, he'd need clearance to compete in such an event, but White insists the bout must be fought in the UFC's Octagon under mixed martial arts rules, not another boxing match like the one between Mayweather and Conor McGregor last year.
“We went over there, we boxed him and if he wants to do it again, he’s gotta come fight in the UFC,” White said. “I don’t think it’s very realistic at all but I didn’t think the boxing match was either and it happened so we’ll see.
“There will no be a boxing match. Obviously, if it was something that Khabib really wanted to do, we’d sit down and talk about it but I don’t like anything about it. I haven’t talked to Khabib about it at all. His interest needs to be defending his title over here. That’s what he should be focused on.”
Mayweather scored a 10th-round TKO over McGregor in the bout and both men enjoyed a mammoth payday for their efforts. Clearly, the UFC gained monetarily as well as the co-promoter of the event. A similar arrangement would likely have to be made for a Mayweather-Nurmagomedov bout.
“There’s a reason why Floyd Mayweather wants to fight my guys,” White said. “Because there’s big money there for him. Obviously, there’s big money there for us but I’m not into making those kinds of fights. If Floyd wants to come over here, he said he’s been wrestling and doing this and that, if he wants to come over and fight in the UFC, he’s more than welcome.”
It's difficult to imagine Mayweather agreeing to an MMA bout with anyone. let alone a fighter with Nurmagomedov's style. The fight is going to go to the ground, and that is obviously where Mayweather has had little-to-no training. As a businessman who always looks to chase low-risk-high-reward opportunities, an MMA bout with Nurmagomedov doesn't seem like it matches the profile.
Then again, this is combat sports and we've learned you can never rule anything out.