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5 MMA fighters who made a successful transition to Boxing

Anderson Silva trains in boxing gloves
Anderson Silva trains in boxing gloves
ANALYST
Modified 31 Mar 2021
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MMA fighters often try to move into boxing because of the lucrative paydays and global exposure that come from a boxing ring. There is a huge number of notable MMA stars who have expressed their wish to box, like Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou, who wanted to box Tyson Fury.

However, there are others falling into the 'one and done' category - having ventured into the boxing ring only to call it quits after one bout. For example, Nick Diaz, Donald Cerrone, and maybe Jorge Masvidal (if the fight against Canelo Alvarez doesn't happen).

In this article, however, we look at five MMA fighters who have successfully made a transition to boxing and likely have a bit of fame in store for them in the future.

5. Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor during the
Conor McGregor during the 'Money Fight'

Conor McGregor is one of the most famous MMA fighters in the sport's history. However, even the 'double champ' was lured into the sport of boxing at the peak of his career.

Conor McGregor took a hiatus from MMA in 2017, when he turned into a professional boxer to take on one of the most famous boxers of all time - Floyd Mayweather (50-0).

The 'Money Fight' is, for now, McGregor's only professional boxing bout and although he lost that bout, there is likely more to come. After losing to Floyd Mayweather, McGregor expressed his wish to fight Manny Pacquiao.

While the bout against Pacquiao hasn't materialized yet, there is a high chance that it will, considering that both McGregor and Pacquiao are managed by the same firm, Paradigm SM.

Conor McGregor is also believed to be pursuing his boxing career soon, considering his boxing background, vicious stand-up game, striking efficiency and his love for big pay-days.

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Conor McGregor started boxing training aged 11, when he joined Crumlin Boxing Club, staying there until he was 17. Reportedly, 'The Notorious' also won the Dublin Novice Championship during that time.

4. Anderson Silva

Anderson Silva
Anderson Silva

Anderson 'The Spider' Silva made his MMA debut in 1997. He went on to become one of the greatest legends in the sport. The former UFC middleweight champion holds the record for the longest title reign in UFC history at 2,457 days. However, a little known fact about 'The Spider' is that he is also a professional boxer.

Anderson Silva made his pro boxing debut in 1998 with a bout against Osmar Luiz Teixeira that ended in a corner stoppage. Silva didn't compete in another boxing bout until 2005, when he fought Julio Cesar de Jesus.

Anderson Silva scored a KO win against de Jesus and that was it for the Brazilian. In 2006, he made his entry into UFC.

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However, after the UFC released Anderson Silva in November 2020, he is taking up boxing again. He has signed a boxing contract for a bout against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. The fight is scheduled to take place on June 19, 2021, at the Jalisco Stadium in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The pay-per-view event is called "Tribute to the Kings."

Speaking about his revived boxing career, Anderson Silva said:

"I am extremely happy for the opportunity to test my boxing skills with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. I train continuously, always striving for resilience and to overcome obstacles. Fighting is my everlasting breath."

3. Fabio Maldonado

Fabio Maldonado strikes in a UFC bout
Fabio Maldonado strikes in a UFC bout

Simultaneous to becoming an MMA fighter, Fabio Maldonado also competed professionally as a boxer in Brazil. He made his professional MMA debut in 2000 and his boxing debut in 2002.

Maldonado competed exclusively in his native Brazil before making his North American debut in MMA in November 2008. Before joining the UFC, Maldonado's MMA record was 17-3. He was signed by the UFC in 2010, where he ended up with a record of 23-12, fighting stars like Fedor Emelianenko, Quinton Jackson and Stipe Miocic.

A knockout artist, Fabio Maldonado had a decorated boxing career with a 26-4 record. Out of his 26 wins, 25 were knockout finishes.

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After being released by the UFC in 2015, Maldonado started focusing solely on his boxing career again. He won his return fight via first-round TKO. In his second fight, he knocked out his opponent in less than 30 seconds with just one punch.

Maldonado's last four boxing matches all ended in losses with the most recent coming in 2020.

2. Michael Page

Michael
Michael 'Venom' Page

Michael 'Venom' Page started off as a kickboxer before switching to MMA due to lack of exposure in kickboxing. He made his MMA debut with UCMMA in 2012 and won via knockout from a first-round tornado kick. The fight drew him comparisons with Anderson Silva.

Michael Page soon signed up with Super Fight League too but spent seven years in Bellator MMA, ending his MMA career in 2019 with a record of 19-1-0.

He started off his professional boxing career in 2017 with a fifteen-fight contract with Hayemaker Ringstar. Page made his boxing debut against Jonathan Castano and won in the third round via TKO. He is currently undefeated with his two fights both finishing in knockouts.

Michael Page also did commentary for the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs Conor McGregor fight on BBC Radio 5 Live. He spoke about the transition from MMA to boxing:

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"An example I always like to give is a sprinter turning into a long distance runner, they're using exactly the same muscles but they're using them in a different way. I think anybody in boxing, if they were to come over to mixed martial arts, they'd find it very difficult, it doesn't mean either one is any fitter or less fit than the other. This is the reason why I believe Conor McGregor says, 'I'm gonna take you in the first four rounds' because I believe he genuinely thinks, outside of that, it's going to be a difficult task."

1. Kevin Ferguson aka Kimbo Slice

Kimbo Slice
Kimbo Slice

Kimbo Slice was labeled by Rolling Stone as "The King of the Web Brawlers" owing to a history in underground fighting. He made his professional MMA debut in 2007 with EliteXC before moving on to the reality TV show, The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights in 2009.

Kimbo Slice had a rather short MMA career with a record of 5-2-1 distributed between EliteXC, UFC and Bellator, before he moved on to boxing in 2010:

Speaking about his switch to a boxing career aged 36, Kimbo Slice said, "I feel like a baby all over again. I'm thinking about this at night. I'm gonna be a problem in the heavyweight division. I'm going to be coming in with a bad demeanor. I want to see what it's like to break some ribs, break a jaw with one punch. This is a career move. I love fighting. I like to knock people the f**k out."

In his boxing debut in 2011, Kimbo Slice knocked out James Wade in the first 10 seconds of the first round. He ended his professional boxing career undefeated, with 7 wins and 6 knockouts.

Published 31 Mar 2021, 15:58 IST
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