http://www.mmafighting.com/2016/7/20/12233044/morning-report-amir-khan-says-he-would-fight-conor-mcgregor-in-mmaBoxing vs. MMA never die.
A couple of months ago, when Conor McGregor was theoretically retired from MMA and potentially pursuing other things as leverage for negotiations with the UFC, rumors flew that Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor were setting up a boxing match that would be one of the biggest fights in history. Then, McGregor came to terms with the UFC and was placed on UFC 202 in a rematch with Nate Diaz and those rumors cooled. Well, now another former world champion boxer is throwing his name in the ring with McGregor.
Former IBF and WBA light welterweight champion (140 lbs.) Amir Khan spoke with FloCombat about the Mayweather-McGregor rumors and his willingness to fight McGregor in MMA.
"It would've been a great business move, but I don't think it would've been a good fight. I don't think Mayweather would want to fight under MMA rules. I look at it more as a publicity stunt. People were talking about it. It worked while it lasted, and they brought the hype up.
"I'm a little different in that sense, where I would get into a cage and I would fight in MMA rules, so that's the difference between me and Mayweather. I would definitely give it a go. It's something to learn, as well. I'm at that age where I'm still learning, adapting and getting better. So I still have time under me as well. I'm still a young lad and got loads left in me."
When the rumors of Mayweather-McGregor were running rampant one of the key points was that their bout would be contested under boxing rules since Mayweather is the larger draw and commanded the leverage to make such demands. However, Dana White - who as the contractual promoter of all McGregor fights would be an integral part of any such fight - was adamant that Floyd would have to negotiate some rules changes (like allowing for kicks or knees), or else it would be too advantageous for Mayweather. This was one of the reasons many people had no belief such a fight would be made. It seems Khan wouldn't let something like that stand in the way.
"I would, definitely [fight in the UFC]. Something like that would be massive. Even if I started to train MMA next year, I'd only be 30 years old. I could stop and train for a full year and become a good MMA fighter. It's in our blood to fight. I've been fighting all my life, so for me, I don't think it'd be a problem for me to learn and switch over to the sport."
Khan's willingness to fight a full MMA bout would seemingly make this a much more likely potential fight for McGregor, but it does come at the cost of Mayweather's star power. Khan is a former champion and Olympic silver medalist who was a highly touted rising star and is currently ranked as the No. 3 welterweight by Ring Magazine. He was previously in talks with Mayweather for a match and his most recent bout was knockout loss to middleweight Canelo Alvarez earlier this year in a fight he was performing well in until suffering a potential KO of the year. All of this is to day that Khan is a well known boxer but but he isn't anywhere near the star of Mayweather. Considering that, one would have to believe that Khan would only be considered by McGregor if a Mayweather fight proved impossible to make, something Khan thinks is the case.
"I don't think Mayweather would ever take it. When Mayweather knows he's in a real fight, he just backs out of it. It was good hype while it lasted but I knew it was never going to happen. If it did happen, it would be the biggest fight ever."
Should it happen, Khan would be the most high-profile boxer ever to transition to MMA. Other former champions have crossed over - Ray Mercer and James Toney for instance- but they did so well past their primes. Khan is only 29 years old and ostensibly still has several years of good athletic competition left. The UFC has shown a willingness to sign well known, unproven would-be MMA fighters and giving them time to train for their debuts (here's looking at you, CM Punk) so booking a former world champion boxer wouldn't be outside of the realm of possibility.
As far as how Khan would foresee such a fight unfolding, he thinks his years of boxing experience would give him the edge over McGregor who is primarily a MMA boxer.
"I think McGregor has some great boxing skills. A good boxer will always win a MMA fight--I've always said that. A good puncher will always win. You saw in the Aldo fight--he took a step back and countered him as he came in. With boxing, it's all about distance and timing, and that's something we have on our side more than MMA fighters."