The sport of boxing and MMA have always enjoyed a close-knit relationship due to their similarities in the combat arena. Many of the current top martial artists initially trained as boxers in their youth and now use their superior stand-up game to great effect in the octagon.

By the same token, a number of boxers regularly cite their love of other fighting disciplines as one of the reasons that they took up the sport. However, in recent years, the lines between MMA and boxing have been blurred even further. With a number of fighters switching from 6oz to 10oz gloves and vice versa, the relationship between the two disciplines has arguably never been closer.

With that in mind, are there any reasons as to why two of the world's most popular combat sports are now more inextricably linked than ever before?

MMA/Boxing "Beef" Is Nothing New

Former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos regularly told the media that he could defeat either Klitschko brother in a straight up boxing match. English enigma Tyson Fury has publicly berated and called out Cain Velasquez on numerous occasions and asserts that he could defeat the Mexican within the octagon. In addition to this, there's been numerous discussions around former pound for pound champions Roy Jones Jr and and Anderson Silva getting it on in the boxing ring but as of yet, this still hasn't materialized. All in all, fight fans love the topic of boxing v MMA and so now that crossover bouts have started to become a real possibility, the public interest has been well and truly piqued.

The Media and Fans Love a Game of "What If?"

During an interview with American talkshow host Conan O'Brien back in 2015, McGregor was quizzed about the prospect of getting in the ring with Floyd Mayweather. The Irishman cleverly set the bait by answering that he "would certainly box" the then-40-year-old and that alone was enough to whet the appetites of both casual and hardcore fight fans alike. Of course, this also sent the mainstream media into a frenzy and when the boxing legend took on the UFC superstar back in August 2017, the worlds of boxing and MMA were awash with anticipation. Mayweather came out on top of the bout after a promising start from McGregor (which most sensible heads predicted) but the result almost felt like a sidenote. When the dust had settled, the fight ended up generating more interest than some of the most eagerly anticipated boxing bouts in recent times. With that in mind, there will almost certainly be more of these events to follow in the not so distant future.

Money, Money, Money

With some insiders claiming that Mayweather earned up to $300m for his 10 round defeat of McGregor, it's clear to see that the demand for these so-called "superfights" is enough to tempt virtually anyone to temporarily switch disciplines. Step forward Khabib Nuramagomedov. The Russian defeated a rusty looking Conor McGregor back in early October, with firms such as Oddschecker providing a comprehensive overview of both the betting odds and how the fight may swing one way or the other., Khabib has now set his sights to following in Conor's footsteps by taking on Mayweather in the boxing ring. According to UFC president Dana White, the fight will only happen on his terms and will have to take place in the octagon. However, with the interest that the McGregor v Mayweather bout generated in the UFC, one has to wonder whether White will stick to his guns when the figures are laid out in front of him.

 

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Source: Khabib "The Eagle" Nurmagomedov via Facebook

It's Just Getting Started...

Depending on which way you look at it, the Mayweather v McGregor bout was somewhat of an anti-climax. However, the fight has seemingly set a precedent and paved the way for fighters from both sports to cross over and compete against each other. Outside of McGregor's camp, it's fair to say that hardly anyone gave him a chance against "money" but he fought valiantly and showed real signs of boxing potential. More than anything else, the fight got people talking and generated real interest in the sport of boxing, which has been arguably been waning somewhat in recent years. Are we likely to see more crossovers in the future? Probably. Will we ever back against the boxer in a 10oz glove bout? Absolutely not.

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