With only one year left on his deal with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing, and a potential super fight with WBC champion Deontay Wilder looming, of course UFC President Dana White expresses interest in Heavyweight king Anthony Joshua.
Last week Gareth A. Davies, of The Telegraph reported that the UFC is planning to offer Joshua a $500 million (£353 million) multi-fight deal.
White was reportedly planning to attend Joshua’s unification bout vs. New Zealand’s, Joseph Parker. The fight, which Joshua won by unanimous decision, was only the second time two undefeated Heavyweight titleholders had faced off (per CompuBox).
After his victory, Joshua called out Wilder for the chance to become the first fighter to hold all four major belts simultaneously.
White understands the potential benefits of harnessing a global superstar. In only five years as a professional, Joshua has become the international icon of boxing. A win on Saturday now has Joshua within one step of becoming the undisputed champ and the potential to go down as one of the all-time greats.
We know that White takes no shit as a businessman and a promoter. He has league commissioner type power. In many cases with the UFC, he has been the judge, jury and executioner. Don’t expect Eddie Hearn to be thrilled with this news, because he understands White plays hardball and negotiations with him have the potential to turn into promotional warfare.
However, don’t dismiss the notion of a deal being made between these two either. Both men understand the importance of good business, and this may be an opportunity to change the face of boxing as we know it. When it comes to building a superstar, and bringing the American publicity and dollars into the equation, there is no one better than White.
Joshua seems keen on remaining loyal to Hearn, but did not shoot down the idea of working with the UFC and White.
“We’ll listen and a hundred percent, if it makes sense, we’re all ears, man. So I’m happy that Dana’s coming into the game,” said Joshua before his fight with Parker.
Joshua checks all the boxes regarding a true superstar. He has the Olympic gold medal, the KO ratio, the charisma and a seemingly untapped amount of potential. After Saturday night’s victory, expect Joshua’s stock to rise considerably, but expect Dana’s interest in boxing to increase even more.
Header photo by Esther Lin/Showtime