UFC star Conor McGregor is a showman by nature, but even this was a little unexpected.
The 28-year-old UFC lightweight champion has made his first serious move toward a proposed superfight against boxing immortal Floyd Mayweather by obtaining a boxing licence to fight in California on Thursday.
McGregor's manager Audie A. Attar confirmed the news to MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani. ESPN.com's Brett Okamoto later confirmed it with the California State Athletic Commission.
McGregor and Mayweather have been talking up a fight for several months. The Irish superstar's striking ability - which has been far superior to anyone he's faced inside the Octagon - had some experienced judges indicating he could hold his own against the 49-0 former pound-for-pound champion.
"It comes along once in a lifetime or once every hundred years or what not," said Mark Henry, the striking coach of UFC lightweight Eddie Alvarez.
"I think God has just blessed him with a swing that I'll probably never see again. Before this fight, I would highly doubt him fighting Mayweather, but I think this dude can take out Mayweather. I'm not even joking."
But Mayweather has insisted McGregor is not in his league. "I didn't know Conor McGregor was undefeated," he told TMZ recently. "I didn't know he had a reign in MMA for 20 years and was undefeated and was world champion in five different weight classes. That's something I didn't know. So I guess you guys are telling me something new if you say he's the Floyd Mayweather of the MMA.
"If you say he's the Floyd Mayweather of the MMA, I'm trying to find out have you ever made $300 million in one night? Have you ever made $100 million in one night? Have you ever made $70 million in one night. So as far as saying he's the Floyd Mayweather of MMA - it's OK to say it but it's not true."
McGregor was forced to vacate his UFC featherweight title this week as the promotion scrambled to salvage an injury-hit UFC 206 card in Toronto next weekend.
The Irishman became the sport's first two-division world champion when he beat Alvarez for the lightweight belt at UFC 205 in New York a fortnight ago.
The UFC said on Saturday that McGregor - who is not expected to fight again until the middle of next year - had relinquished the featherweight belt which has now been given to interim holder Jose Aldo.
Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis will now headline UFC 206 in a scrap for the interim featherweight belt.
- with AAP