Boxing Vs MMA, it’s a question everyone has asked at least once since the UFC held its first event in 1993. Some would say the question was even answered that same night when Art Jimmerson, a mid-tier boxer was choked out by UFC legend Royce Gracie in mere seconds. Still the question persists. Boxing diehards will point to grainy YouTube videos of Ray Mercer knocking out former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia out cold, while MMA enthusiasts point to Randy Couture beating the breaks off James Tony at UFC 118.
Each side holds legit claims to having premier combat athletes and everyone always ends up in the same spot. If it were a boxing match, the boxer would win, if it were MMA, the MMA fighter would win. History proves this line of thinking to be more right than wrong but context is king and sometimes greatness will not be denied.
Enter Floyd Mayweather Jr. Floyd is, at worst seen as the greatest boxer in the modern era and at best, the greatest boxer in the history of the sport. Sitting at a perfect record of 49-0, Floyd is literally flawless. Now some will demean his record stating that there’s an ample amount of padding involved but what boxer doesn’t have his fair share of cans on their resume? With Floyd being the literal “golden boy” of the sport, it would stand to reason that he should dominate any sport that involves punching your opponent in the face, right?
No one is doubting Floyd’s accomplishments in the ring, but you don’t have the be the greatest of all time, (or even near it) to dethrone ‘Money’ Mayweather.
Here are the top 15 UFC fighters that would destroy Floyd Mayweather Jr in the Octagon.
15 Cody Garbrandt
Cody Garbrandt is the freshly minted UFC Bantamweight champion at 135 pounds. Covered in tattoos, ‘No Love’ boasts knockout power in his hands and legs, running through his division before dethroning long reigning UFC champion Dominick Cruz. Cody is a showboat by nature but he backed up his freestyle dance moves by dismantling Cruz in the middle of their Bantamweight match-up.
At age 25 Cody has the skills and exuberance to fluster anyone in his weight class. Being undefeated at 11-0 gives him a level of cockiness that only someone like Floyd can appreciate and understand. As proven in his fight with Cruz, once Cody gets going he goes. Able to mix in looping punches, to head kicks to expertly timed shots within manner of seconds of each other.
How I see Cody Garbrandt winning: Bell rings and as soon as Cody ducks, dodges or weaves a punch, expect some dance moves and some intense jawing. The dude gets hype as hell during fights. Expect a lighting quick double leg where Cody pounds on Floyd until the ref pulls him off. Then more dancing.
14 BJ Penn
‘The Prodigy’ BJ Penn is legendary among MMA fans. He dragged the lighter weight classes into the spotlight and made 155 and lower weight classes the place to watch the most skilled fighters face off. BJ had the “just scrap” mentality and fought in open weight challenges just to prove that he was the best.
So, the idea of taking apart Floyd Mayweather Jr would be the things BJ Penn dreams of. BJ is the first non-Brazilian to win the Black-Belt division in the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. When he would take your back, it would be a death sentence for his opponents. That’s not to say that Floyd isn’t without his merits but Penn has shown throughout his career, that he is able to take an extreme amount of punishment and keep going.
How I see BJ Penn winning: Bell Rings and BJ stands up with Floyd as long as he can, just to prove a point. Eventually somewhere in the 1st or 2nd round, BJ gets him to the ground, takes his back and it’s night-night for Floyd.
13 Joe Lauzon
Joe Lauzon looks and talks about how he’d rather be gaming on his new PC than training for his next fight, but don’t let that fool you. This bug-eyed combatant is one of the most full-throttle and exciting fighters in the sport. He’s not a Wildman per say, but when Joe gets his hands on you, he’s throwing submission attempt after submission attempt with beautiful transitions until he locks something in.
Rarely in a boring fight, Lauzon is tied for the most post-fight performance awards and is willing to go for broke whether he wins or loses. Either way his opponents realize they are in for a fight after going a few rounds with Joe.
How I see Joe Lauzon winning: Bell rings and Joe, the bigger man, uses his size to impose his will onto Floyd. Not exactly the hardest to hit, I see Joe taking a few shots and probably getting busted open on account of his scar tissue. A little blood never deterred Joe through and I see him locking in a slick submission after a transition on the ground. The bloodied fighter gets his arm raised.
12 Tony Ferguson
Tony Ferguson fights at 155 pounds and is mixed martial arts personified. With strengths in wrestling and boxing, ‘El Cucuy’ takes the fight pretty much anywhere he wants to and is a ball of energy no matter on the ground or standing up.
Obviously, no man wants to trade hands with Floyd, but Ferguson is just the right amount of crazy that would charge right in and start throwing hands, knees, elbows, kicks and whatever else from opening bell. Floyd of lauded for his speed and while he holds the advantage over most opponents, the shoulder roll will only work for so long. Enjoy getting double legged and eating elbows from wherever Ferguson wants to land them.
How I see Tony Ferguson winning: Bell rings and Tony is in Floyd’s face from minute one. Mayweather ducks and dodges as well as he does, but eventually gives up the clinch and gets pushed to the cage and eats knees until he wakes up to a flashlight in his face.
11 Ronda Rousey
Ronda Rousey hasn’t had the greatest last few years, coming off two embarrassing back-to-back losses, the former 135 Women’s Champion may never compete in MMA again. What is undeniable though, is that Ronda is a serious threat in the Judo realm and her boxing is better than people give it credit for (even if it’s not as good as SHE thought it was).
At her peak, Ronda would march her opponents down, through a quick combo to transition into the clinch and dump a poor lady on her head. What would quickly follow would be blistering shots to the face and/or a slick transition to her dreaded arm bar. If this were WWE, Ronda’s armbar would be the most bulletproof finisher in the company.
How I see Ronda Rousey winning: Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a phenomenal boxer, let’s not take that away from him, but rarely has he shown one punch knockout power. Ronda will do what Ronda does and eat some unnecessary shots but as soon as she closes ground, Floyd’s in her world. Ronda can manipulate Floyd’s body any way she wants and she takes him for a ride and puts him in the dreaded arm bar. Hopefully Floyd’s team taught him how to tap, because Ronda won’t think twice before hyperextending that elbow.
10 TJ Dillashaw
One only needs to track down the fight where TJ Dillashaw utterly dismantles Renan Barao to win the UFC Bantamweight belt to see how skilled of a fighter TJ is. Getting his start in amateur wrestling, TJ was a Division 1 NCAA quality wrestler before starting his fighting career where he turned into a dominant striker in his own right.
With a quick in-and-out style of striking TJ is there and then gone. We’d have to still give Floyd the edge in speed obviously, but TJ has many more weapons available to him. And if things get too dicey, he has his wrestling to fall back on to save himself.
How I See TJ Dillashaw winning: Bell rings, TJ and Floyd circle each other each throwing sharp punches that don’t fully connect until TJ gets clipped, he reverts to his wrestling, grabs a single leg takedown. Lays on Floyd to finish the round. Rinse and repeat for 5 rounds or until Floyd mentally breaks and gives up an easy choke.
9 Urijah Faber
Urijah Faber has recently retired but there’s little doubt that ‘The California Kid’ would come back for one more fight if it included a Floyd Mayweather payday. If BJ Penn cracked open the door for the lighter weight classes, Urijah Faber kicked the door down. With good looks and the skills to back it up, Faber went on to lord over the WEC before heading to the UFC as their premier lightweight.
Faber boasts NCAA wrestling skills, a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and an exciting fighting style that made him loved by fans and fighters alike. It’s not what Faber does great, it’s that he doesn’t do anything poorly. He’s shown throughout his career, an ability to react and change during the course of the fight.
How I see Urijah Faber Winning: Bell rings and Urijah may not be able to outbox Floyd, but he can out grapple, outwrestle and submit him anyway he pleases. What Urijah gives up in height he makes up for bulk. Once he gets his hands-on Floyd, it’s over.
8 Conor McGregor
Let’s be real here. Conor McGregor is a mad man and trying to beat Floyd in his own sport of boxing. The scary thing? People actually thinks he may have a shot. McGregor talks about how his ‘movement’ is something that no one in the sport of MMA or boxing has ever had, and his two division belts are the proof in the proverbial pudding.
Put these two in the Octagon and Floyd has about as much of a chance as Conor does boxing, perhaps even less so. Conor’s strength has always been his stand up but you don’t get to where he’s at by being one-dimensional.
How I see Conor McGregor winning: Bell rings and Conor does what Conor does. He’ll march to the center and throw a spinning back kick that connects more times than it doesn’t. Body kicks, leg kicks, all while taunting mercilessly. Eventually McGregor connects with his devastating left and it’s all over.
7 Chan Sung Jung
Chan Sung Jung ‘The Korean Zombie’ earned his nickname the hard way. By taking horrific damage and plowing forward like it didn’t even happen. With a focus on kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Jung has stunned many opponents by virtue of just not going down when he should. It also helps that he is heavy handed and has his fair share of knockouts on his resume.
Zombie notably holds the distinction of being the first MMA fighter to ever land the ‘Twister’ submission in the octagon, which takes clever thinking and smart set up. Heavy hands, savvy submissions skills and an iron jaw, the only thing that held Chan back from another title shot was his mandatory military service that put his career on ice for almost three years.
How I see Chang Sung Jung winning: Bell rings and Chan will strike with Floyd and eat a few good ones because the Korean Zombie's best defense is his granite chin. After walking through Floyd's best shot, Zombie gets Floyd to the ground and puts him in the Twister and Dana White rains UFC performance money on him like it’s Saturday night and the wife is out of town.
6 Nate Diaz
Nate Diaz holds victories over a who’s who of fighters, including Conor McGregor. At 6 feet and with a length of 76” which is 4” longer than Floyd. It would surprise literally no one if Nate Diaz would be the one fighter on this list to try to outbox Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Nate’s secret weapon is his cardio. The dude runs triathlons on the regular and has stated that he has no hobbies save for training. Mainly, however he uses his boxing to touch up his opponents before landing his signature “Stockton slap” that is used to mainly embarrass and enrage his opponents into making a mistake. Now I’m not saying that Floyd will fall prey to losing his mind in a fight, but with Diaz being the taller and longer fighter, chances are that Floyd’s getting touched up at some point. Nate is also a BJJ black belt whiz that takes his befuddled opponents and chokes his opponents out with ease.
How I see Nate Diaz winning: Nate wouldn’t take the easy way out and try to put Floyd on his butt within seconds for a quick submission win. He’ll stand up with Floyd and turn this into a straight up boxing match. Diaz’s toughness is legendary so expect a bloody war before Nate decides that he’s tested himself enough and pull Floyd to the ground before locking something in that makes him tap. Mean mugging will follow.
5 Anthony Pettis
Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis is perhaps best known for the ‘Showtime kick’ where he once ran along the side of the cage (like a ninja) and threw a leg kick that connected to his opponent's jaw and flattened him. This won Pettis the WEC lightweight championship, which he then brought to the UFC and dominated his weight class for years.
With a background in Taekwondo, Capoeira and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, ‘Showtime’ is a mystery to Floyd Mayweather. Heck, he’s a mystery to most of his opponents in the same sport! Flashy fighters aren’t anything new but Pettis has the ability to use his surroundings to his benefit. There are just too many options available to hurt or confuse Floyd which would eventually lead to his demise.
How I see Anthony Pettis winning: Bell rings and Pettis dazzles with some funky kicks that either connect or befuddle. If Floyd survives the initial barrage, Anthony gets him to or around the cage where Pettis will probably end up running up or alongside the cage to finish Floyd with a knee or a head kick.
4 Khabib Nurmagomedov
Khabib is basically Street Fighter’s Zangief’s little brother given form. An undefeated UFC Russian fighter, with extensive Sambo, Judo and wrestling training. The guy has one goal, and that’s to take you down and employ violence. In a recent fight, Khabib was heard pleading with his opponent to “just quit” because he wanted to bout to be over so he could get ready to fight for the belt. It’s like the sincerest form of trash talking.
Comparatively, Khabib is as good as a pure grappler as Floyd is a boxer. There’s isn’t a guy that Khabib hasn’t embarrassed to get his contender status. They both hold undefeated records and have the insane will to win.
How I see Khabib Nurmagomedov winning: Bell Rings and Khabib takes Floyd down within the first 30 seconds. What follows is a demoralizing battering of the world’s greatest boxer. With Khabib probably begging for Floyd to give up before having to lay into the ground and pound for an early stoppage or brutal 15 minutes, depending on Floyd’s durability.
3 Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson
Demetrious Johnson is probably the best fighter that you don’t care about. The flyweight champion reigns at 125 pounds and has run through the entire division, at this point almost twice over. The UFC is having trouble finding DJ legitimate competition because every test he’s been given, he’s passed with ease.
Probably the fastest fighter in the UFC, nobody blends wrestling, submission and striking quite as well as Mighty Mouse does. He holds the longest championship win streak at 9 defenses and is well on his way to tie and even surpass Anderson Silva’s record 10 successful defenses. DJ’s most admirable trait is that he never stops looking for the finish. Even when he’s pitching a perfect shutout, Johnson has grinded toward a finish gaining one at 4:59 seconds in the fifth and final round. You can’t cut it any closer than that.
How I see Demetrious Johnson winning: It’s rare but Mighty Mouse actually holds a speed advantage over Floyd in this bout. Stronger than he looks, Johnson easily locks up with Floyd and drills him with sharp knees until Floyd falls. If he’s still conscious at the end, expect a quick choke and that’s all she wrote.
2 CM Punk
While yes, a pro wrestler with literally zero experience in combat sports. CM Punk is still listed as a UFC fighter and could probably take on the 49-0 boxer handedly in a fight.
Even with Punk’s limited training and experience, it’s still dwarfs Floyd’s understanding of MMA. While Floyd is clearly the better athlete and boxer. Punk fights at 170 pounds, far above Floyds heaviest weight (a bit north of 150) so he could use his size and grappling experience to embarrass the pugilist.
While both tough guys, Punk knows what it’s like to get beat up in the gym day in-day out. Mayweather trains hard yes, but I’d be shocked if he’s pushed himself for a fight in years.
How I see CM Punk winning: Bell rings, Punk circles, eats a few shots clinches up, inside trip and the bigger man gains mount and rains down shots until referee stoppage.
1 Henry Cejudo
Henry Cejudo holds an Olympic Gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 121-pound weight class. That’s like, half a Kurt Angle. Regardless, if you know Olympic caliber wrestlers you know that 100% of them of tough. Henry came into the UFC and won four straight before falling to Demetrious Johnson.
Wrestling is the name of the game and while it doesn’t look like Cejudo has put it all together yet, he can fall back on one of the strongest aspects of MMA. His takedowns are a bit of a “get out of jail free card” and if Henry gets his game plan going, there are very few who can stop him.
How I see Henry Cejudo winning: Bell rings and Floyd is on his back. You could give Floyd Mayweather 3 solid years of wrestling defense and Henry Cejudo would still wear him around like a button. Once they are on the ground, anyway Henry wants to finish it, he can. It may not be fun to watch, but it’ll get his hand raised for the ‘W’.