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The Pros and Cons of MMA Fighters Going to Boxing

MMA Fighters Turning To Boxing Is Hot New Trend

Cyborg Joins Fast-Growing List of MMA Fighters Boxing

Cris “Cyborg” Justino successfully made her professional boxing debut on the undercard of Bud Crawford-David Avanesyan on Saturday. The multiple-time MMA champion easily beat a former MMA peer in Gabrielle Holloway.

Cyborg became another notable MMA fighter to transition into boxing. Cyborg made it look easy, but moving to this other discipline is typically not easy.

The Pros and Cons of MMA Fighters Going to Boxing
Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

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Allure of Boxing: Why MMA Fighters Are Moving Over

With the win, Cyborg became another MMA star who successfully transitioned to boxing. But also, becomes another potential star in the rise of women’s boxing. Other than her, the likes of Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort have laced it up. Others like Nate Diaz and Jose Aldo have also been linked to boxing. So why are these MMA fighters suddenly becoming boxers?

The short and simple answer is money. The sport of boxing, while not always more lucrative, has produced some of the most exorbitant events. Fighters look to Conor McGregor and the hundreds of millions he made in his bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. But it’s not just him.

Both Silva and Ben Askren made half a million in their bouts against Jake Paul. Tyron Woodley reportedly made two million in his first bout. In comparison, Askren never made anywhere near that in his MMA career while Woodley was paid no more than a guaranteed sum of half a million as a UFC champion (per reports).

The other answer is that these fighters are old and done with MMA. Silva, Belfort, and Woodley are retired while Cyborg could be closing in on the end of her career. Boxing is not as exhaustive as MMA as there is no grappling aspect to the sport.

That could also make it “simpler” in this sense though it is by no means easier. That’s why the online sports betting lines tend to peg these old MMA stars as underdogs unless they fight a terribly aged boxer like Evander Holyfield.

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Why Moving to Boxing Is Just a Fling for Most MMA Fighters

But let’s be honest: no serious MMA or boxing fan would consider these MMA stars as future staples of the sport. Not only are they old, past their prime, and facing a skill deficiency, but finding “money fights” is not sustainable. If anything, getting involved in “celebrity bouts” is a quick payday. And following Woodley’s and Silva’s losses, their boxing careers could be all but finished.

We’ll be hard-pressed to find an MMA fighter who develops a secondary career in boxing. Aldo and Diaz may have a better chance as they are relatively young and not entirely shot as fighters. Others like Clay Collard and Fabio Maldonado, former UFC fighters, have simultaneously competed in MMA and boxing.

However, while both have a combined record of 36-7-3, it has not gone swimmingly. Collard has lost his last four bouts while Maldonado has gone 0-5 against most boxers worth a damn. While the two have boxed up opponents in an MMA setting, they are still in the lower echelon of boxing. That’s why folks betting online will fade them against any notable boxer.

What’s the Next Big MMA vs Boxing “Superfight”?

But while MMA fighters will continue to be underdogs in boxing fights, the appetite for it ceases to wane. The likes of Diaz, McGregor, and Francis Ngannou have boxing lines in the sportsbook (to an extent).

McGregor is an underdog against Paul while Ngannou is a larger underdog against Fury. While they have all traded barbs and built up these potential bouts, it is highly unlikely to happen thanks to McGregor’s and Ngannou’s UFC contracts. Dana White will have to go on board to co-promote as he did with Mayweather-McGregor.

If it does happen, the MMA side may take two more losses. But at least they will get paid and that’s what prize fighting is all about anyway.

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