By Alex Raskin, Sports News Editor for DailyMail.com
For a 41-year-old retiree hoping to make it as a cage fighter, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is unusually confident.
Not only does he think he can compete in the octagon, but he also assumes his debut will be the highlight of the MMA calendar.
‘The money is going to be crazy,’ he told Showtime. ‘I can do whatever I want to do. I’m Floyd Mayweather.’
But it’s not as though Mayweather is an aging shortstop moving to first on the baseball diamond or a golfer graduating from the PGA tour to the senior circuit. The undefeated pugilist is trying to move from one combat sport to another; and as UFC star Conor McGregor proved in their highly-publicized and underwhelming boxing match last August, MMA is something entirely different.
UFC star Conor McGregor (right) illustrated just how different boxing and MMA are when he fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. (left), who cruised to an easy 10-round stoppage
Mayweather’s own trainer father admitted his son didn’t even prepare before beating McGregor with a 10th-round TKO, which illustrates the vast chasm between the two sports.
Wisely, Mayweather does plan on training for his move to MMA.
Mayweather previously told TMZ Sports that he has been in contact with UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, who would theoretically train the five-weight division champion-turned promoter for six-to-eight months.
Amanda Serrano gave herself two years to learn MMA and transition from boxing
‘I’m going to start soon,’ said Mayweather, who once boasted he could make $1 billion in the UFC. ‘We’ve been texting back and forth. We talked a couple times, so we going start working out real soon.’
Naturally, some within the sport are skeptical he can make the transition.
‘He’s an idiot if he does because at the end of the day, he has great boxing skills, but he’s a purist,’ said MMA trainer Rob Constance. ‘You’re 41. You’re not going to get anything, unless you’re fighting a fish.
‘I can take any three amateurs we have in the gym right now, put them in a ring with Mayweather, and they’d kill him,’ Constance said, motioning to fighters training at Renzo Gracie Academy in Manhattan. ‘If he does well, it’s not going to be legit, because [MMA] takes years to [learn].’
But some within the sport do believe Mayweather could win a legitimate MMA bout.
‘He’s working with Tyrone Woodley, who is a great MMA fighter,’ said Amanda Serrano, one of the most decorated women in boxing history who will make her MMA debut on Friday night. ‘He knows who he’s working with.
‘Patience, that’s number one,’ added Serrano, who spent two years making the transition to MMA. ‘You can’t take anything for granted.’
Mayweather claims he’s going to give himself between six and eight months to prepare for his MMA debut, but is quick to add that he’s already a proficient wrestler, whose kicks are rapidly improving.
Heather Hardy (left) believes Mayweather can compete because he’s not an average 41-year old, but one of the most accomplished athletes on the planet
That bodes well for him, according to Heather Hardy, an undefeated boxer who is 2-1 in MMA.
To her, Mayweather is not just any 41-year old off the street, but an extraordinary athlete whose natural ability can compensate for his lack of experience.
‘I do think it’s realistic for someone to train in eight months and still be successful,’ she said. ‘One, because 41 is not the same in 2018 as it was in 1978. He’s not smoking a pack a day. His body is probably in the shape of most 25-year olds.
‘Having said that, he doesn’t have a full-time job on Wall Street where he’s cramming training in and around work,’ she continued. ‘He’s able to dedicate his whole day to this.
‘A third thing is that he has reached the highest level that boxing knows. No one’s better than him. I’m a really accomplished boxer, but I’m not on his level yet, and it’s still such an advantage. That guy wouldn’t say he was going to do something and not be totally ready.’
Regardless of whether he’s ready or not, UFC fighters will undoubtedly be lining up for the chance at a lucrative fight against an untested challenger like Mayweather.