Outside of Dana White’s office on the second floor of the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas is a painting of Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather boxing. Across the hall is a portrait of Muhammad Ali and in the lobby is a statue of Joe Louis.
White is the president of UFC, but he’s also a boxing fan who wants to get more involved in the sport this year.
As he prepared for McGregor’s return to the octagon after a 15-month layoff to face Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, he and the company’s biggest star fielded almost as many questions about boxing as they did about the UFC 246 pay-per-view taking place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.
While McGregor was asked about a possible rematch with Mayweather, White was asked about a recent meeting he had with Mayweather at Staples Center during the Clippers’ game against the Boston Celtics.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. connects with a left against Conor McGregor during their super-welterweight bout.(Isaac Brekken / Associated Press)
Conor McGregor lands a left uppercut against Floyd Mayweather Jr. during their super-welterweight fight.(Isaac Brekken / Associated Press)
(Ethan Miller / Getty Images)
Floyd Mayweather Jr. sends Conor McGregor reeling during their super-welterweight fight.(Isaac Brekken / Associated Press)
Conor McGregor lands a left to the belt line of Floyd Mayweather Jr. during their super-welterweight fight.(Isaac Brekken / Associated Press)
Conor McGregor presses the action along the ropes against Floyd Mayweather Jr. during their super-welterweight fight.(Isaac Brekken / Associated Press)
Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. exchange punches during their super-welterweight fight.(Ethan Miller / Getty Images)
Conor McGregor throws a punch at Floyd Mayweather Jr. during an awkward exchange.(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)
Floyd Mayweather Jr. clobbers Conor McGregor with a right during their super-welterweight bout.(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)
Floyd Mayweather Jr. gets the better of an exchange with Conor McGregor during their super-welterweight fight.(Ethan Miller / Getty Images)
Floyd Mayweather Jr. connects to the head of Conor McGregor during their super-welterweight bout.(Isaac Brekken / Associated Press)
Referee Robert Byrd raises the hand of Floyd Mayweather Jr. after his technical knockout of Conor McGregor.(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)
Floyd Mayweather Jr. celebrates his victory over Conor McGregor after their super-welterweight fight.(Ethan Miller / Getty Images)
Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, embraces Conor McGregor after their super-welterweight fight.(Isaac Brekken / Associated Press)
“Floyd Mayweather is still the biggest name in boxing and I think Floyd and I can add a lot of value to each other,” White said. “We showed it in the Floyd-McGregor fight, which is the biggest pay-per-view of all-time. The stuff that me and Floyd are talking about though isn’t another fight with Conor.”
White doesn’t want McGregor to box again even though Mayweather and McGregor’s fight in 2017 was the second highest-grossing event in combat sports history behind Mayweather’s fight in 2015 against Manny Pacquiao, who is also a possible opponent for McGregor.
“I would love that Floyd rematch,” McGregor said. “Talks have been ongoing with Manny Pacquiao. For me, an aspiration of mine is to win a boxing world title. That would be a phenomenal feather in the cap and something I look to achieve and will achieve in the future.”
McGregor said a rematch with Mayweather “could very well happen this year” and said a possible fight with Pacquiao “is there whenever.” Manny Pacquiao Promotions President Sean Gibbons tweeted out a fight poster this week of McGregor and Pacquiao in front of Allegiant Stadium, the $2-billion home of the Raiders scheduled to open this summer in Las Vegas.
Should McGregor vs. Pacquiao be the first event at Las Vegas' new $2 billion stadium? pic.twitter.com/S8plQMMwDt— Las Vegas Locally 🌴 (@LasVegasLocally) January 17, 2020
“I would be honored to be a part of that,” McGregor said. “I would love to be the first combatant to fight in that arena. What a fight that would be against Manny — a small powerful southpaw. We would have to figure out the weight and those types of things, but it’s something that interests me, no doubt.”
White plans to get Zuffa Boxing up and running this fall but wants to meet with Mayweather first and figure out how they could partner on boxing cards. Mayweather owns Mayweather Promotions.
“Floyd and I sat down and we agreed that it would be smart for us to work together,” White said. “It’s all hypothetical right now. We believe the time for us to start talking is this summer so we’ll sit down and figure out how this works and who’s going to do what and who’s going to get what and all that stuff. Floyd and I have already proved that we can work together. That was the big question going into the Floyd-McGregor fight. Not only did we work together, we worked together very well and it was good for everybody involved. So we’ll do it again.”
McGregor said he wouldn’t mind being the fighter to “kick-start Zuffa Boxing” but he and White have not talked about that. White would like to see McGregor focus solely on his UFC career.
“I don’t want Conor to box,” White said. “I want to see what’s next for him in MMA, not boxing.”
That decision, however, is in McGregor’s hands and it would be hard to imagine White not being involved if McGregor chooses to return to boxing. A rematch with Mayweather or a fight against Pacquiao would likely be the highest-grossing combat sports event since McGregor faced Mayweather.
“I’ve had no conversations about Zuffa Boxing but I’ve done amazing work with the UFC and I’ve done amazing work with Zuffa and amazing work with Dana,” McGregor said. “I’m sure the conversations will take place at some stage. We’re all feeling it out. … I feel I could fight anyone. People want to see me compete and I want to compete for the people.”