In one of the more memorable moments of the UFC 196 news conference, Conor McGregor said Thursday he wanted to personally tear down the Floyd Mayweather Jr. sign hanging on the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino because he has surpassed Mayweather as the most popular fighter in the building.
“What’s he going to do?” McGregor asked.
McGregor, who’s readying for his UFC 196 main event Saturday night at the venue versus Stockton’s Nate Diaz, hours earlier confided that he also has interest in fighting the retired, rich and unbeaten Mayweather.
In a conversation with the London Daily Telegraph’s Gareth A. Davies on the BT Sport television network, Ireland’s McGregor was asked about the potential of a Mayweather bout.
“Would you and Floyd Mayweather ever get together in a boxing ring?" Davies asked.
"I'm open to discussion, come at me. But I hold the key. It is me that holds the key to that fight," McGregor said. "I'm open-minded, I love competition and I love fighting. It would be interesting to see if we could make that fight happen if the fans wanted to see it. Obviously they would."
McGregor, a skilled stand-up fighter who needed just 13 seconds to knock out Brazilian Jose Aldo in December to win the UFC featherweight belt and end Aldo’s 10-year unbeaten run, is a skilled striker who shows rapid head movement, punching speed and power.
Mayweather and McGregor have exchanged some comments in social media, but their opportunity to cross paths this week was denied by Mayweather’s visit to Miami, according to an individual close to the boxer.
Attempts to get a comment from Mayweather were not immediately successful.
Although the UFC has agreed to just one other boxer-versus-mixed-martial-arts-fighter bout (James Toney versus Randy Couture in 2010), the attention on such a showdown would likely be massive.
Davies suggested to McGregor that it’d be a “billion-dollar bout.”
"I'm all about those numbers, Gareth. I would certainly do it," McGregor said.
His coach, John Kavanagh, expressed similar enthusiasm.
“I think it would be incredible,” Kavanagh said. “From us, it's a 'yes' -- whether it's boxing, kickboxing or MMA, it's a yes from us. It would be insane. What an honor it would be. A record-breaking event.
“The best MMA fighter versus the best boxer. Let's do it."