The 41-year-old made tens of millions of dollars from his boxing fight against UFC champion Conor McGregor last year and appears ready to follow that up with an MMA bout. He confirmed on Thursday that he plans to start training with UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley soon.
“I’m gonna start soon,” Mayweather said. “We’ve been texting back and forth. We talked a couple times, so we gonna start working out real soon.”
Mayweather 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,” Mayweather 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. 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 from MMA – his last UFC fight came in November 2016. If Mayweather was to come on board it would be a huge boost for the promotion’s profile, if not for its legitimacy as a fighting organization.
“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 shit ends up happening.”
Mayweather has said he believes he could make $1bn from a deal with UFC. His debut may be some way off though. “I haven’t even started training yet,” Mayweather told. “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.”