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- World heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua is being targeted by UFC, the world’s premier mixed martial arts firm.
- UFC is reportedly set to offer Joshua a contract worth half a billion dollars – and it is a deal the boxer may well consider.
- This is because Joshua said last week that he would be interested in fighting two of the UFC’s biggest stars, Francis Ngannou and Jon Jones, as they would be “good scraps.”
- Joshua defends his heavyweight titles against fellow champion Joseph Parker in front of 80,000 fans in Wales on March 31.
- And guess who will be ringside? UFC president Dana White.
UFC is set to offer Anthony Joshua a $500 million (£353 million) fight contract just one week after the fighter expressed an interest in taking on two of the UFC’s biggest stars.
Joshua is one of the hottest commodities in sports. He is an Olympic gold medalist, a world heavyweight boxing champion, and regularly sells out the biggest stadiums Britain has to offer. Over Easter weekend, for example, he’ll fight in front of 80,000 screaming fans at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
Since turning professional in 2013, the British boxer has been exclusively promoted by Matchroom Sport and its managing director Eddie Hearn, but The Telegraph says UFC is about to declare promotional warfare as it hopes to snatch Joshua away from Hearn’s grasp.
The Telegraph’s fight expert Gareth A. Davies claims UFC president Dana White will jet to Wales to watch Joshua from ringside when the WBA, IBF, and IBO champion defends his titles against WBO belt holder Joseph Parker on March 31.
Davies says White once said Joshua “changed the face of boxing” and that “multiple sources” have confirmed to him that UFC wants to “lure him away from Hearn and Matchroom.”
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The news comes hot on the heels of Joshua expressing an interest in taking on two of the UFC’s biggest stars.
Just last week the boxer said fights against UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou and former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones would be “good scraps.”
Joshua said he’d have to “have a couple of warm-up fights” first as he would need to “learn the submissions,” but would have no problem transitioning into a UFC fighter. “A fight is a fight,” Joshua told Sky Sports. “Yea man, I’d do it.”
UFC has experience in dealing with elite boxers. UFC, after all, was involved in the biggest fight of 2017 – Floyd Mayweather’s 10th round boxing rules victory over UFC fighter Conor McGregor in August.
It has applied for a boxing license so it can promote boxing events in Nevada and has further plans to expand into the sport.
The Telegraph says a “multi-fight” UFC deal worth half a billion dollars is a real possibility, but it remains unclear whether Joshua would compete as a UFC fighter, or continue as a boxer.