The Conor McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather boxing match surprised many naysayers as it turned out to be an entertaining 10-round affair until a tired McGregor was stopped by the undefeated boxer. The crossover fight between a mixed martial artist and boxer may have opened the floodgates for similar contests.
With MMA fighters, especially those in the UFC being notoriously low paid compared to elite boxers, it’s easy to understand why they’d jump at the chance of making millions of dollars for a night’s work in the ring. This list features 10 other crossover fights between mixed martial artists and boxers that should entertain fans of both combat sports.
10. Paulie Malignaggi vs Conor McGregor
It’d just be natural to see light-hitting boxer Paulie Malignaggi of Brooklyn taking on Conor McGregor since the two of them worked together preparing the Irishman for his bout against Mayweather. The pair had their outbursts and disagreements, especially after videos of their sparring sessions surfaced in which the former two-division world boxing champ was seen on the canvas. The 36-year-old Malignaggi claims he was pushed to the deck while McGregor boasted that he dropped him with a punch. Malignaggi has issued a challenge to his former sparring partner and is so confident of a victory that he’s suggested it be a winner-take all match. He added that he’d risk fighting the UFC champ for free just for the opportunity to punch him in the mouth again and again.
9. Roy Jones Jr. vs Anderson Silva
They’ve been talking about meeting in the ring for several years and although Roy Jones Jr. is now 48 years old and Silva is 42, there’s still a chance it might happen. Jones is a former silver-medal Olympian and multiple-division world champion boxer, including being the heavyweight king at one time. His chin is now susceptible and he’s well past his prime, but is still active. Silva lists Jones as one of his inspirations and this could still be a competitive fight since they’re both on the decline. However, they’d have to get it on as soon as possible. Both fighters have expressed interest in meeting, especially Silva, and Dana White has considered a bout as a co-main event with another high-profile fight between a boxer and mixed martial artist.
8. Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez vs Jose Aldo
Jose Aldo didn’t fare too well against Conor McGregor as he lasted just 13 seconds, but even the world’s best combatants can get caught cold and early. The 30-year-old Aldo is still considered to be one of the best MMA strikers around and a matchup with 27-year-old Mexican boxing star Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez would be a solid test. Aldo has talked about a boxing career and fighting at 155 lbs in the octagon, so this is a possibility, especially if Canelo loses his mega world middleweight title fight with Gennady Golovkin on September 16th. Canelo has lost just once in his career up to now and that was a split decision to Mayweather and with McGregor demolishing Aldo there’s a roundabout connection between the two somewhere in there. Aldo has shown pretty good mobility and punching skills, but would definitely be the underdog.
7. Vasyl Lomachenko vs Cody Garbrandt
Unfortunately for Vasyl Lomachenko of Ukraine, he’s ranked as the top pound-for-pound boxer on the planet by many experts right now, but the average sports fan has never heard of him. The 29-year-old took home two Olympic gold medals as a young man and won a world title in his third professional fight. He’s the current WBO Super Featherweight Champ after previously holding the WBO Featherweight Title. The talented southpaw is 10-1 with seven Kos with his power becoming more evident with every fight. The 25-year-old Garbrandt of Ohio isn’t exactly a household name either, but he’s the current UFC Bantamweight Champ with a record of 11-0 with nine Kos. His best performance so far was upsetting former bantamweight boss Dominick Cruz at UFC 207. This would be a fast-paced and entertaining crossover match for both sets of fans.
6. Jean Pascal vs Nick Diaz
Former Haitian-born world light heavyweight boxing champ Jean Pascal of Montreal is another aging boxer who has slipped a little. However, the 34-year-old still has enough fire in his belly to call out UFC welterweight Nick Diaz and apparently calling him a coward in the process. Pascal released a video which criticized Diaz’s opinion and trash talking and claimed he would easily whoop him in a boxing match. Diaz of Stockton, California, is also 34 and has fought for many MMA organizations and is 1-0 as a pro boxer. His one and only bout came back in 2005 and resulted in a four-round unanimous decision victory over Alfonso Rocha. He’s a volume puncher who should be entertaining in the ring and has been praised for his boxing skills by none other than undefeated light heavyweight boxing champ Andre Ward.
5. David Haye vs Jimi Manuwa
UFC fighter Jimi Manuwa has called out former heavyweight boxing champ David Haye several times, calling him a weirdo. Haye is arguably the best trash talker in boxing at the moment, but often crosses the line of good taste. Manuwa showed his punching power at UFC Fight Night 107 in London, England in March by beating Corey Anderson. Haye’s last fight was a loss to fellow countryman Tony Bellew in London, but he showed a lot of heart by fighting with a torn Achilles tendon. Manuwa is 37 years old and Haye is 36 and since they both hail from London the fight should be a sellout at the O2 Arena. Manuwa has no amateur or pro boxing experience, but trains at the sport and would love to knock Haye off his pedestal by beating him at his own game. Haye claims the UFC has contacted him, so this fight could possibly take place.
4. Tony Bellew vs Michael Bisping
Like Manuwa and Haye, the 34-year-old Tony Bellew of Liverpool and 38-year-old Cyprus-born Michael Bisping of are a couple of Britons who have discussed meeting in the ring. Bisping is the current UFC Middleweight Titleholder while Bellew is a former world boxing cruiserweight champion. It appears both fighters are interested in a bout, while Bellew said he’d fight Bisping twice, once in a ring and again in the octagon. However, Bisping is supposed to defend his UFC crown against the come-backing Georges St. Pierre first. Bellew said Bisping initiated the talk about a fight and when he was asked if he’d take Bisping on he said he’d be happy to. It doesn’t look like there’s any major animosity between the two, but Bellew said he’d provide the fans with a highlight reel knockout of Bisping in the ring.
3. Anthony Joshua vs Stipe Miocic
Another natural showdown would be between a couple of heavyweight champions. Stipe Miocic is the current UFC Champ with an MMA record of 17-2 and 13 Kos while Anthony Joshua holds the IBF, IBO and WBA boxing titles with a perfect mark of 19-0 with 19 straight kos. The 27-year-old Joshua of England is also a former Olympic gold medalist. As a former amateur boxer himself, the 35-year-old Miocic of America has made it clear he’d like to meet Joshua in the ring. It makes sense for Miocic since he isn’t making much cash with the UFC . However, Joshua is faced with meeting his mandatory boxing defenses or being stripped of his titles. Therefore, he hasn’t got much time for a fight with Miocic. It’s a shame really, as Stipe has a puncher’s chance since Joshua’s chin still has a huge question mark attached to it.
2. Luis Ortiz vs Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar of South Dakota is now 40 years old and has been around forever on the wrestling and MMA circuits. Meanwhile, Luis Ortiz hails from Cuba and is 38. He’s hoping to get a shot at the WBA Heavyweight Title against Anthony Joshua, but Joshua might skip the fight and be stripped of his title in the process. Ortiz isn’t very well known outside of boxing circles, but he’s 27-0 with 23 Kos as a pro after enjoying a fine amateur career of 343-19. If these two big men got together in the ring it would be a treat for the fans as it would be power against power. Ortiz hasn’t really had his chin tested yet in the squared circle and if Lesnar, who could outweigh him by 40 to 50 lbs, landed a shot solidly on the chin it would be interesting to see what happens.
1. Conor McGregor vs Manny Pacquiao
Conor McGregor acquitted himself well against Floyd Mayweather as he won the first three or four rounds, but then ran out of gas. He was more tired than hurt when referee Robert Byrd prematurely stopped the fight and millions of fans would love to see the UFC Champ from Dublin in the ring again. And what better opponent than eight-division world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines. One of the big talking points after the McGregor vs Mayweather bout was the fact that McGregor landed and threw more punches on Mayweather than Pacquiao did in 12 rounds when the two met in 2015. McGregor doesn’t need the money now, and neither does the Pac-Man, but McGregor’s confidence will be sky high while Pacquiao’s took a beating when he lost to the unheralded Jeff Horn earlier this summer. When we throw in the fact that Pacquiao’s punching power has diminished, this fight would be a perfect matchup.