NEW YORK – Heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury has an open invitation to step in the octagon and fight MMA.
“Come on over,” UFC President Dana White said today. “We’ll make a deal.”
Prior to his 21st pro win this past Saturday, the undefeated boxer called MMA “rubbish” and told ESPN he had called out UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez three times to no avail.
White is willing to accept the challenge on his fighter’s behalf.
“You want to fight Cain? Come on over here,” White said today during a fan Q&A. “You will get smashed.”
Fury is the latest pugilist to take aim at MMA, though certainly not the first. Champ Floyd Mayweather is among the most famous detractors, though other stars have given the sport its due.
A confident and brash self-promoter, Fury has made headlines calling out Velasquez, whom he called a “midget” after the UFC champ’s dominant win over Junior dos Santos at UFC 155 in December.
Velasquez, who first won the title by beating Brock Lesnar at UFC 121 and then retook it by avenging a loss to dos Santos at UFC on FOX 1, deflected Fury’s initial barbs by saying the boxer should work his way up the MMA ladder like everyone else.
“Nothing is given to you in this world,” he said. “To me, it’s like don’t talk about it, go ahead and do it. That’s all I have to say about that.”
But according to White, Fury might not have to wait.
Fury wouldn’t be the first high-profile boxer to accept the MMA challenge. Former champ James Toney doggedly pursued a fight in the UFC and got his shot at UFC 118, where he faced UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture. In a one-sided drubbing, Couture submitted him in less than four minutes with an arm-triangle choke.
More infamously, contender Art Jimmerson fought at UFC 1 wearing one boxing glove and quickly submitted to Royce Gracie.
Against the decorated collegiate wrestler Velasquez, Fury might need to work his grappling chops if he hoped to avoid being smothered.
For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Tyson Fury)