Conor McGregor has taken the next step towards making a potential fight with Floyd Mayweather a reality. The UFC lightweight champion has been issued a boxing license in the state of California.
For months, McGregor and Mayweather have been publicly toying with the idea of going toe-to-toe in the boxing ring. While such a fight has appeared unrealistic because McGregor would have virtually no chance to win, it is at least possible now that the bout could happen in California.
“He got a license today and a federal ID,” California State Athletic Commission executive officer Andy Foster told MMAFighting.com. “He's a California boxer now.
“He's qualified [as a boxer]. I'd love to see him fight in California. It just needs to be the right opponent. Certainly a high-level opponent. We're happy to license him. We're happy he's a California fighter.”
McGregor reportedly plans to apply for licenses in other states, as well. His last MMA fight came at UFC 205 on Nov. 12 in New York when he defeated Eddie Alvarez to become a champion in two different weight classes.
The news comes just a few days after the UFC decided to strip McGregor of his featherweight title. McGregor became the first-ever UFC fighter to hold two belts at the same time when he won the 155-pound championship, but he hadn’t defended his 145-pound belt since he won it from Jose Aldo on Dec. 12, 2015.
Mayweather hasn’t fought since he defeated Andre Berto on Sept. 12, 2015. While the undefeated boxer claimed it was his last bout, many believe he will come out of retirement for the right fight.
There has been speculation that Mayweather could come back for a rematch with Manny Pacquiao, against whom he earned well over $200 million for a fight on May 2, 2015. McGregor has publicly demanded $100 million for a fight against Mayweather, which would almost certainly generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.
Some, however, believe the latest news doesn’t make the chances of a possible McGregor-Mayweather fight any more of a reality. See what CEO of Mayweather Promotions, Leonard Ellerbe, told ESPN.com:
It's all a game. It's all a calculated effort to gain more fans. He got a boxing license. Congratulations to him. Conor McGregor can say anything he wants to but he has a boss and his name is (UFC president) Dana White. He is under contract to the UFC and if he wanted to fight Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match he can't because his bosses wouldn't allow that to happen. The brass who recently purchased the UFC are very smart people and they would never, and put this in bold caps, let him step into a boxing ring with Floyd Mayweather because everyone knows what the outcome would be.
White has said that McGregor won’t fight until May 2017. His most likely next opponent might be Nate Diaz, whom he faced twice this year, generating more than three million total pay-per-view buys.