Mayweather vs Khabib – UFC’s Newest Star Wants to Join The Party
So a video has been doing the rounds on social media which involves the man of the hour, Khabib Nurmagomedov standing with Leonard Ellerbe, who happens to be the chief executive of Mayweather Promotions, proclaiming he wants to fight Floyd Mayweather Jnr…
“Let’s go, Floyd, we have to fight now,” the 30-year-old fighter said in a video posted to Ellerbe’s Instagram page. “50-0 versus 27-0, two guys who have never, never lost. Let’s go. Why not?
“In the jungle, there is only one king. Of course, I am the king. He could not drop McGregor, but I dropped him easily. That’s right. Let’s go.” After Mayweather fought the then biggest star in the UFC last summer, Khabib just beat that same star and now it appears he wants to follow in Mcgregor’s footsteps and take his place in the ring against Floyd Mayweather Jnr.
What should we make of this? Well it’s pretty obvious really – it’s just another potential money grab by both fighters. Only recently Mayweather Jnr started the comeback rumours, fuelling talk of a rematch with Manny Pacquiao and after Khabib easily despatched of Mayweather’s previous opponent Conor McGregor – the hype for a fight between the two seems like something which would make sense, except it doesn’t.
The World may have fallen for the Mayweather vs Mcgregor circus act, even though any serious boxing fan knew all along that Money Mayweather would win the fight whenever he wanted to. There are two major differences here though which make me believe the same won’t happen again.
Firstly and probably most importantly, Khabib cannot sell a fight the way Mcgregor does. When Mayweather jnr fought Mcgregor, it was one of the few times, perhaps the only time that Floyd did not really have to sell the fight because Mcgregor was doing such a great job himself. Mcgregor realised it is a business and it was a fight between the two biggest combat sports stars in the world and he was on top form throughout the build up and in every press conference. He was so good infact, that people actually began to believe him when he said he would beat Mayweather Jnr. That ended up creating far more hype than it would initially have and it caused more interest and more eyes to watch the lead up and the eventual fight itself.
Khabib though, has never been one for words and English also is not his first language which means he would find it difficult to create enough buzz in the press conferences. He didn’t need to create much buzz in the fight with Mcgregor because 1) Mcgregor is so good at that himself and 2)it was an MMA fight so it was a much more even fight than Khabib vs Mayweather which is only going to be a boxing fight. When fans know it is a mismatch, you really need to find a way to sell the fight, Khabib won’t be able to do that and neither will Mayweather.
The second reason this fight won’t sell is this is not going to be a mixed martial arts fight. Floyd Mayweather Jnr, ever the businessman has now built his brand over being undefeated, which is a record of 50-0 and he will not risk losing. This means a boxing fight with any top ‘young’ contender or champion is out of the question and any sort of MMA fight with Khabib is also out of the question. Floyd will happily step into the squared circle with Khabib because he knows it is an easy nights work for him. By the same token he would never step into the octagon with Khabib because it would be an easy nights work for Khabib. If they fight in the ring everyone knows Khabib has no chance because his stand up game is not strong – compared to a boxers anyway. One of the reasons the fight vs Conor Mcgregor sold so well was because Mcgregor was seen as a striker and had made his name in the UFC using his fists and knocking people out, he also had some sort of amateur background as a boxer so he managed to fool alot of people into believing these boxing skills of his would give him a chance against Mayweather.
Khabib on the other hand is not a striker and has built his reputation on a fearsome ground game. Yes I know he knocked Mcgregor down in their fight but let’s be honest, the knockdown was the result of Mcgregor being wary of Khabib’s takedown skills, he even faked the takedown and then threw the overhand right. In a straight shoot out with the hands, Khabib would not stand a chance of competing with Mayweather, whether he is 41 or 51yrs old.
Everyone knows that by fighting Mayweather Jnr, you pretty much can retire on your purse, that makes everyone want to fight him and because Mayweather is the meal ticket, you have to fight on his terms which will be in the boxing ring. Khabib’s own team mate the UFC heavyweight Daniel Cormier can see what this is about…“Khabib better not try to box him. Khabib better not try to box Floyd Mayweather. What is he doing, man?’ Cormier said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show.
“Unless he’s just going to go do it for money, because he is going to get beat. I love Khabib man but he is going to get beat up by Floyd Mayweather. He’s crazy. He is going to start wrestling. Khabib is going to start wrestling in the boxing ring. He’s going to get beat so bad he is going to start wrestling.”
You can bet this time Floyd won’t carry his opponent as he did with Mcgregor, it would be Floyd looking to end the fight as early as possible. Khabib is naturally the bigger man so has better punch resistance but he would be broken down by Floyd and then it wouldn’t surprise me at all if what Cormier said came true. Khabib is a proud man, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine him pulling out a few wrestling moves to hurt Mayweather even if there was something in the contract penalizing him for this if he found himself frustrated in a boxing match, his bread and butter is wrestling, he needs to fight using those grappling skills.
Let’s hope this matchup doesn’t take place. It is beginning to make a mockery of both sports. It is something I can see more and more of in the future, but currently all we see is one side is either too old and past it or they are not allowed to use all of their skills which means the result is a forgone conclusion. If you want to do something like this, then tell it how it is and make it an exhibition match and all a bit of fun – as Muhammad Ali did in his fights against the American Football player Lyle Alzado and Japanese professional wrestler Antonio Inoki.