Though it never happened, we might have a different undisputed champ testing the waters in the opposite direction.
Representatives of UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and boxing great Roy Jones Jr. are actively engaging in talks that would pit the two in a boxing match, NBCSports.com has learned.
Alan Hopper, director of public relations for Don King Productions confirmed that talks are ongoing, and characterized them as "preliminary."
"Roy likes the idea and is up for it," Hopper said. "It's being discussed. Roy will only agree if the match takes place under the rules of boxing, and UFC would have to clear Silva's participation."
The bout would be a legitimate match sanctioned by a state athletic commission and not an exhibition, according to Hopper. He added that the two would probably meet at a weight between 170 (Jones' last fight) and 185 (Silva's weight class).
Silva (21-4) is considered by many MMA experts and fans to be the top pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the world, and has won seven straight fights. The 32-year-old Brazilian is 6-0 in the UFC and has finished four of those bouts by TKO.
The wiry middleweight is thought to be one of the top boxers in the sport and possibly the best equipped striker to handle the challenge. According to the website FightMetric.com, which calculates MMA fight stats, Silva is accurate on around 70 percent of his strikes, twice the average of most fighters. He also rarely gets hit, as his opponents whiff 76 percent of the time. Not surprisingly, he has never been knocked down with a punch in his MMA career.
The 39-year-old Jones is 52-4 in his career and was considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world by the time he was 25. He captured titles in the middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight classes, and in 2003 he beat John Ruiz for the WBA Heavyweight championship. With that effort, he became the first former middleweight champ to win a heavyweight title in 106 years.
Silva first voiced an interest in boxing in an interview with NBCSports.com prior to his UFC 82 main event fight with Dan Henderson. After being asked what challenges awaited him should he beat Henderson, Silva said, "...after this fight, maybe I'll put the UFC belt up against a 185-pound boxing champ I'd love to beat up."
The fight would still have several hurdles to clear. First, UFC would have to allow Silva to participate. Second, Silva would have to be apply for a boxing license in the state which would host the fight. And finally, the two sides would have to agree on a money split.
Nevada Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer said that the commission would have to gather information about Silva's boxing capabilities before granting a license for such a bout.
"It's [Silva's] burden to prove," Kizer said. "He'd be taking on a future Hall of Famer in Roy Jones. There's no question he can get licensed to box, the question is the matchup. We'd have to look at his training, his background, his history and gather the facts before a decision."
According to the site BoxRec.com, Silva has had two pro boxing matches and is 1-1, though his official website lists him as 1-0 with his only match occurring in 2005.
Video: MMA from NBC Sports
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