Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor, despite their boxing spectacle being in the rearview mirror, have done little to let the fervor die down. In fact, they’ve been teasing a potential rematch… in the UFC Octagon, no less.
Most people have written that off as the two simply using their hype from Mayweather vs. McGregor to remain in the headlines, but UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley insists that there is legitimate interest on Mayweather’s behalf to fight mixed martial arts and he and Mayweather are hatching plans to train together in Las Vegas.
“Floyd Mayweather is interested in taking a mixed martial arts bout, maybe a few of ’em, so who better than ‘The Chosen One’ to teach him the ropes on how we get off the ropes and get on the cage?” Woodley said during the latest episode of his “The Hollywood Beathdown” TMZ Sports show.
“We started chatting about MMA and we decided, hey, man, let’s connect, let’s hook up in Vegas and do some training and get him ready for MMA.”
“You all think it’s a joke, but think about this: Floyd Mayweather is one of the best strikers of all time. How many guys in the UFC can’t wrestle, can’t grapple, they consider themselves a stand-up fighter. If they have to stand across from one of the greatest strikers ever, they gonna be in a world of smoke,” Woodley explained, before certifying that they are preparing to train together.
“We’re already getting it set up.”
The way Woodley sees it, Mayweather doesn’t have that far to go to be competitive in the Octagon. He doesn’t believe that the undefeated former world champion boxer needs to be all that versed in the elements that are missing in his combat sports arsenal.
Woodley believes that if he can teach Mayweather how to adequately identify kicks and takedowns and how to defend them, his athleticism and punching prowess would fill the gaps.
“If he’s able to evade punches at a fraction of a second, make people look stupid and miss a million times, then he can learn wrestling defense (and to defend kicks),” Woodley said.
“Doing those things, then obviously, he’ll decide what fight he wants to take.”
Mayweather has already defeated McGregor in the boxing ring, scoring a tenth-round TKO stoppage, but would he really stand a chance against the UFC lightweight champion in the Octagon? Most would immediately write-off Mayweather’s chances in the cage, particularly against someone as seasoned as McGregor, but not Woodley. He sees holes in the Irishman’s game that Mayweather could exploit, giving him a real chance were they to meet again under MMA rules.
“He’s gonna fight a big fight that makes sense. I could see a Conor or something like that. I think Conor would want to try to get that L off his record and try to bring him over to his world,” Woodley hypothesized before breaking down McGregor’s limitations in the cage.
“Conor has never really knocked anybody out with a kick. He throws a lot of kicks, they look flashy, but he does it to create space to keep you off of him. Conor is not that great of a wrestler and he’s not the world-class jiu-jitsu guy. If he can’t land one of those kicks on Floyd and he can’t take him down – if you’re an athlete and you can learn quick, you can stop a takedown – I think (Floyd) has a chance, for sure.”
Perhaps most surprising of all of Woodley’s comments wasn’t the idea that he thought Mayweather could legitimately compete in a mixed martial arts bout, but how quickly he feels the boxer could be ready to step into the Octagon.
Woodley strongly believes that kicking and takedown defense would be Mayweather’s ticket to a fairly quick MMA bout, and he doesn’t think it would take Mayweather all that long to be ready.
“I think he’s gonna take three months anyway. I don’t think he’s going to jump into a fight fast. I think he’s gonna take the 12 weeks regardless,” said Woodley.
“I think for the kicks, he’s gonna need two or three weeks. Some of the wrestling defense things, it’s very similar to boxing… to stop the shot before it gets there is through footwork. In total, maybe two and a half months (to get Floyd ready for a fight).”
If Mayweather does train with Woodley, as the champ says is the plan, it could simply be a testing ground to see if he really does want to cash the gigantic check that would surely be waiting were he to step into the Octagon, whether it be against McGregor or even the likes of CM Punk, as Joe Rogan has proposed. Maybe Mayweather gets a taste of MMA in training and walks away, but what if he doesn’t? What happens if he hits the mats with Woodley and decides that he can do it?