While a boxing bout between UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor and boxer Floyd Mayweather would hold up the 155-pound division in mixed martial arts and break the traditional mold of boxing matchmaking, former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold thinks it's a fight that needs to happen.
“I think it’s a fight that needs to take place,” Rockhold said during a recent appearance on UFC Tonight.
If the bout does happen — and it looks like it's going to — is it risky for McGregor? McGregor is in his prime and is the biggest draw on the UFC roster. Mayweather is the current pay-per-view king in boxing. The bout would without question generate a lot of revenue, banking each fighter tens of millions of dollars, or more. If McGregor loses – which most people predict that he will — will it lessen his stardom or drawing power inside the Octagon?
Rockhold doesn't see the bout as risky at all and believes it would be good for the UFC regardless of the outcome.
“I think it’s better for boxing, I’d say. I don’t think it hurts the UFC. I think it’s going to put us on the map. A fight of this magnitude is going to do everything for fighting in general. I’ll be watching,” he said.
McGregor, like he usually does, has a backup plan if he loses to Mayweather. He simply returns to the UFC as a mixed martial arts champion who lost to one of the best boxers in the history of pugilism.
“Win or lose, I don’t think it really hurts (McGregor). If he loses, he loses to Floyd Mayweather and comes back to MMA and he’s a two-division champion. I think he’s pretty safe,” said Rockhold.
Asked who he thinks will win between McGregor and Mayweather, Rockhold went with the boxer.
“I usually don’t pick against Conor. But Floyd Mayweather, he’s a safe fighter. He is who he is. He’s not going to take any risks. He knows how to play that game, and I think that he wears him down.”