What started out as a little joke and an idle proposition has now become a very real possibility. Following Khabib Nurmagomedov’s victory at UFC 229 over Conor McGregor, the Russian somewhat jokingly stated that he would want to now fight Floyd Mayweather - as McGregor did before him. As this proposal gained traction, it became more realistic to the point that this may also actually happen.
MMA and UFC legend Michael Bisping recently swore to God that Khabib would ‘go the distance’ with Mayweather, which if we look at all the facts and what we’ve seen before, is a possibility.
Why Khabib could go the distance with Mayweather
Mayweather is not a powerful boxer, he’s a technical magician who works out angles and waits till the optimum moments to strike his opponents. Put any amateur boxer in the ring with the American and it is likely they will last the first round, and maybe even a couple more. It’s just not Mayweather’s style to knock his opponent out immediately. As we saw with the McGregor bout, he gets a feel for the fight and his opponent in the opening rounds. Then he tires them out and strikes in later rounds.
This will obviously benefit Khabib. His cardio and stamina is excellent, and is a powerful tool in his arsenal. Albeit, he is used to facing opponents whom he can pin to the ground and allow them to exert energy, something he wouldn’t be able to do with Mayweather in a boxing match. But his stamina will still stand him in good stead. It is unlikely that Mayweather would be able to wear him down, assuming Khabib is efficient and is clever with his boxing.
That being said, this fight will still be an absolute farce should it go ahead.
Plausible yes. But also farcical.
McGregor fought Mayweather simply down to his ego and charisma. He gives off, less so now after the defeat at UFC 229, an air of invincibility. He is so confident in his own fighting ability. This is backed up by the 13-second KO of Jose Aldo, his numerous other victories over UFC vets and the fact that he was the first fighter to hold a belt at two different weight divisions simultaneously. But ultimately, the hype that he is so good at creating around himself got him that fight with Mayweather.
Mayweather though, is undoubtedly one of the best out there, and he literally is invincible, with an undefeated record. Therefore, putting the two together in a super fight made some sense and ultimately, fans of both sports could get behind it.
Considering the Irishman’s knockout power, and his ability to get inside his opponents’ heads, he had a small chance of beating Mayweather would he have caught him with a proper left.
Khabib, on the other hand, has a lot less KO power than McGregor. His specialty is wrestling, and the reason why McGregor was given a hope against one of the best boxers of all-time is the fact that if he landed properly he could KO Mayweather. If McGregor, a better boxer, striker and puncher than Khabib couldn’t, why would Khabib be able to?
Loss of credibility
McGregor is obviously an immensely-popular fighter, but you’re either going to love him or hate him. If you like the Irishman for his personality, it is likely you’ll dislike Khabib for his and vice-versa, with the two being polar opposites of one another.
Therefore, one main thing that attracted fans towards Khabib was his respectful behaviour, and the fact that he seemed to genuinely care about fighting and not (just) money. That love for fighting exists for McGregor, but he makes no pretense about being driven hugely by money.
With the idea of this Khabib v Mayweather fight though, it undermines Khabib as a character and diminishes his credibility somewhat. It does make him seem slightly hypercritical, as his whole image is tailored towards being a natural fighter who loves the game. Now though, it could be seen as him selling out to commercialism.
Not a great show
One of the best things about the previous Mayweather fight was the press conferences, where two egos of massive proportion went head-to-head. However, it’s hard to see Khabib winding Mayweather up, hurling insults at him like ‘stupid baldy t***.’ In terms of show appeal, a rematch between Mayweather and McGregor would be more attractive and lucrative - but obviously from a fighting standpoint this should not happen.
Mayweather has been involved in some of the biggest fights in history, none more so than that recent bout against Conor McGregor. This one against Khabib will really struggle to create much hype though, with the Russian being far from the outlandish, trash-talking fighter that the Irishman has become, not to mention his very specified wrestling fighting technique.
Of course, the fight will be interesting to see how it plays out. It will drum up a decent amount of attention and will give fighting fans a chance to see one of the greats in action once more. But it just seems like this one is a little too forced.The McGregor fight had some credibility. There was a genuine chance that either fighter could win, and if nothing else it was a novelty. This proposed fight would have none of those things and would frankly be laughable were it to go ahead. Stick to UFC, and demonstrate just how good you are in the octagon. Don’t sell out while losing that unbeaten streak in a ring.