Dana White: Floyd Mayweather's interest in signing with UFC is real, in talks for deal

When Floyd Mayweather said multiple times during the build to his August boxing super fight against UFC champion Conor McGregor that "we're going to do this in the Octagon next," it was met with a collective groan and rolling of the eyes. 

But if recent comments from both UFC president Dana White and the 40-year-old Mayweather can be taken at face value, this might have more legs than anyone relying on common sense is willing to admit. 

One week after Mayweather told fans during a live social media stream that he could make $1 billion in a multi-fight UFC deal, White confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday that Mayweather's interest is sincere.

"We're talking to Floyd about doing a UFC deal," White said. "It's real. He was talking about [boxing] Conor McGregor. Was that real? Have you heard Floyd talk about many things that aren't real? He usually tips his hand when he's in the media and then that s--- ends up happening.

"We're interested in doing something with Floyd. Everything is a realistic possibility. Mayweather versus McGregor f------ happened. Anything is possible."

Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs) returned from a two-year retirement to defeat McGregor (0-1 in boxing) via 10th-round TKO in the Irish star's pro boxing debut. Although many believed the fight would never take place, the combination of curiosity and the carnival nature surrounding the promotion helped the fight generate more than $600 million in revenue, including the second biggest live gate ($54.4 million) and pay-per-view buys (4.3 million) in boxing history. 

"[UFC] just called me not too long ago and asked me to come back," Mayweather said last week. "I can come right back. If I wanted to I could come right back to the UFC. I can go fight in the Octagon. I can go do a three or four-fight deal in the Octagon and make a billion dollars. Remember I'm Floyd 'Money' Mayweather."

White cited the ease in which he negotiated with Mayweather, and his reclusive adviser Al Haymon, earlier this year as a reason to believe the idea of Mayweather entering an Octagon is believable. 

"There was no way I thought that fight was going to happen, but when you sit down with a smart guy like [Mayweather adviser] Al Haymon, a very intelligent guy, anything is possible," White said. "And Floyd, as much as he does the money thing and this and that, Floyd was actually very easy to work with. I was impressed."

Despite the potential windfall available to Mayweather for making his mixed martial arts debut, there are more than a few reasons to doubt how real the situation is. Along with Mayweather's age and lack of experience, the future Hall of Famer has built a legacy upon how calculated he was as a matchmaker, only accepting fights at the time and weight that were most advantageous to him. 

Having reportedly earned upwards of $300 million each for his victories over McGregor and Manny Pacquiao two years earlier, Mayweather doesn't seem to be in need financially. He has also spoken at length regarding how important his brain health is to him, which is why he retired at the time he did with all of his faculties intact, having absorbed very little damage in boxing due to his legendary defensive skills. 

Even with all of the potential reasons not to believe this, UFC commentator Joe Rogan confirmed White's words this week on his podcast, "The Joe Rogan Experience."

"Floyd talked about it," Rogan said. "This is one thing I can tell you. Dana told me that Floyd wants to make a deal in the UFC, legitimately. I texted him, I go 'is Floyd really talking about fighting in MMA?' He goes 'Yeah, he's f------ crazy, I told him he'd get killed but he's still talking about it.'"

CBS Sports Insider

Brian Campbell covers MMA, boxing and WWE. The Connecticut native joined CBS Sports in 2017 and has covered combat sports since 2010. He has written and hosted various podcasts and digital shows for ESPN... Full Bio

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