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01st May 2016

Amir Khan would fancy his chances against a Conor McGregor and has already trained in MMA

Very interesting

Darragh Murphy

Forget the back-and-forths with Floyd Mayweather! Conor McGregor may have a new rival from the world of boxing.

Amir Khan may not have the drawing power of a Mayweather but the possibility of Khan making the switch to mixed martial arts seems an awful lot more likely.

Khan, who takes on Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez next Saturday, already has a business interest in the sport of MMA as he is part-owner of Indian promotion Super Fight League.

Amir Khan and Canelo Alvarez Press Tour - New York

And ahead of next weekend’s step-up in weight, Khan has admitted that he would not rule out a future switch to the cage and suggested he’d be fancy his chances against UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor.

Khan told The Guardian: “I have a stake in a company called Super Fight League, which is an MMA company in India and we have a lot of shows in Dubai, too. We are now moving over into America and putting on shows there.

“Bellator and UFC are the two main MMA companies, we’re probably third after those two. I’ve always been a UFC fan and I like McGregor and the way he promotes it. If I was to fight the champion around 147lb I would fancy my chances. You never know what will happen in the future – I would never say ‘no’ to getting into MMA. I could do it under my own banner and what a way to do it. My speed would be perfect, it’s hit and move.”

UFC 194: Aldo vs. McGregor

Boxers have had varied success at translating their skills to MMA, with Holly Holm making the move like a duck to water but James Toney having experienced the other side of the change when he was outgrappled by Randy Couture in his mixed martial arts debut.

Khan reckons his boxing technique would be too crisp for fighters competing in the Octagon and has used Jose Aldo’s naivety at UFC 194 as a prime example of mixed martial artists’ deficiencies in the stand-up realm.

“Just look at when McGregor beat Jose Aldo,” Khan continued. “The guy leant forward, over extended and fell short, McGregor stepped back and threw the straight right. It was a proper boxing move. I would not let anyone get close to me, I would take a step back and keep it long. I also believe that us boxers punch harder than MMA fighters anyway.”

And while the talk of a super, cross-sport meeting between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather was never anything more than a quest for publicity, it’s worth noting that Khan has an eye on MMA fighters in or around his weight division and has already trained in mixed martial arts.

He said: “I was at the last SFL show in Dubai, watching closely at the guys in my weight. Even though I have no experience of MMA, I could have stepped in and done the business. I’ve already done MMA training too. It’s good for preparing to fight a guy like Canelo who likes to put the pressure on. It’s all about the feet, the feet have to be in the right position.”