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Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. continue to fan flames for a super-fight

Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. continue to fan flames for a super-fight
Conor McGregor speaks at a news conference before UFC 205 in November. (Michael Reaves / Getty Images)

Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor keep mutually pushing for a pay-per-view boxing match that faces obstacles but would generate massive sales.

“I have my eyes on one thing and that’s Floyd Mayweather,” UFC lightweight champion McGregor said in a pay-per-view interview Saturday in England.

Hours later, Mayweather, the 49-0 former top pound-for-pound boxer who retired in September 2015, responded on the Showtime broadcast of the Leo Santa Cruz-Carl Frampton featherweight title bout at MGM Grand.

"I believe the fight can happen," Mayweather said. "He's a tough competitor. He has proved throughout the years in the UFC that he can fight standing up. We'll just have to see what the future holds."

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McGregor (21-3) indeed has performed superbly as a UFC striker, ending then-featherweight champion Jose Aldo's 10-year unbeaten run with a knockout punch 13 seconds into the fight.

He stood and bloodied the face of Nate Diaz with multiple knockdowns in August to avenge a months-earlier loss by submission. And he repeatedly dropped then-lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez with punches in November to take that belt.

McGregor is the UFC's top pay-per-view draw. Mayweather's May 2015 bout against Manny Pacquiao had a record 4.6 million buys.

Yet, McGregor is under contract with the UFC; Mayweather wants a larger cut of the purse; and both the UFC and Mayweather's network of choice, Showtime, would have to settle who would air the boxing match.

UFC President Dana White has previously suggested he would stage the fight after a series of high-quality UFC bouts to help ensure a strong product in light of Mayweather's strongly favored status in a potential meeting.

"We know I'm the 'A' side," Mayweather said. "It shows throughout the years. So many record-breaking numbers that we have done, me and my team.

"Can we make this fight happen? Absolutely. That's what everyone wants to see. Of course, Showtime is the biggest and best in the business. So with Showtime pay-per-view, hopefully we can make it happen.

"I truly believe the fans want this fight. The fans have been asking for this fight. It's all about entertainment. He's very entertaining. He's very outspoken like myself, so let's give the fans what they want to see."

White, however, made it clear the UFC needs to be heavily involved in the bout, given McGregor's contract status.

"When you're about to go on and do a pay-per-view that you're charging people $5 to listen to you talk, I'm sure you gotta say some pretty crazy [stuff]," White said. "If he wants to go down that road with us [of trying to fight without UFC producing the bout], it will be an epic fall."

White has said previously that he expects McGregor to return to the octagon in September. An interim lightweight belt is on the line March 4 when Southern California's Tony Ferguson meets unbeaten Russian Khabib Nurmagomedov in Las Vegas.

McGregor said he's planning a trip soon to Las Vegas to settle his $150,000 debt with the Nevada State Athletic Commission over a water-bottle-throwing episode with Diaz to help explore obtaining a state boxing license as he's already done in California.

State commissioners have expressed some hesitancy to allow McGregor to jump right in the boxing ring against Mayweather. One said he should choose another boxing opponent, like a top-15 contender, to prove he could handle the test.

Of course, there are multiple millions of dollars for any state that would allow the bout, and both fighters want no one else but each other.

"Me and Floyd have got to get together and talk and figure it out the same way him and Manny figured it out," McGregor said. Once we come to a number … that I'm happy with, that he's happy with, then we go to the customers. Then we go to the promoters, the buyers and then we get it done. That's next."

McGregor said he'd prefer to cooperate with the UFC to help make the fight, theorizing boxing's Ali Act can aid his bid to participate in the richest fight possible rather than being beholden to a lesser UFC date.

"I think it's smoother if everyone just gets together. Everyone's got to know their place. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."

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