The hype-train has left the station again and it is slowly looking like the unlikeliest of match ups, that being an MMA fight for Floyd Mayweather against Conor McGregor, is edging towards reality.
Ever since the pair met in the boxing ring back in August, there has been constant speculation over whether Mayweather would take on the Irishman in the Octagon, a move that both fighters alluded to during their high profile and often tempestuous promotional tour.
As the boxing world predicted, Mayweather emerged victorious in the ring when the pair finally met, with a tenth round TKO of the MMA superstar.
With both riding off into the sunset with nine-figure sums to further line their respective nests, the notion of Mayweather coming out of retirement again seemed like utter fantasy, especially for an adventure in the world unknown.
On Thursday, McGregor emphatically announced he will fight again, putting the UFC and any prospective opponent on notice.
Whether this also includes a second clash with Mayweather remains to be seen but with the competitive ego of the man who turns 41 this week seemingly unable to let go of the idea that he could be successful in the world of mixed martial arts, a knock with McGregor remains a tantilising option.
Following several videos emerging online of the boxing legend postulating an MMA debut and UFC president revealing that there are ongoing talks with the undefeated boxer, it seems that despite the best efforts of all parties concerned to downplay and dismiss the idea that the biggest names in MMA and boxing will meet again, this time in the octagon, there is once again a sense of inevitability starting to creep in.
Much like the merry dance McGregor and Mayweather gave us in the long build-up to the confirmation of their boxing clash, there seems to be a symmetry in the early rumblings around a potential MMA match up.
As recently as last week, Mayweather’s own father, Floyd Sr, waded into the growing hype to reveal that his son was keen on an MMA bout, despite his own concerns and attempts to talk his son out of the notion.
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I am happy for Floyd and his recent announcement that he is out of these current fight negotiations. It is the reason I never seeked the rematch in the first place. I was happy for him in retirement. My game is a very unforgiving one. It is not like other games. I understand completely him staying retired. I will now carry on in my negotiations and see where it goes. Have a great retirement Junior. Now come here and give your old man a hug for old times sake. I'm proud of you son. Yours truly, Senior.
Even as it emerged that Mayweather seemingly dismissed the rematch and McGregor offering a respectful, yet slightly condescending, send off via his Instagram profile, bookmakers continue to offer odds on the fight.
There is certainly a familiarity with how the hype is slowly building. When McGregor first floated the notion of jumping codes and taking on Mayweather in the ring, he was roundly dismissed by the both MMA and boxing communities.
Fast forward nine months and the pair were squaring off in Las Vegas for what was one of the most lucrative combative circuses ever seen.
Now, with suggestions of a rematch in the Octagon, UFC.com journalist Damon Martin has been struck by how similar fan reaction was before their first class was confirmed and the notion that they could meet again.
Go back and read the responses to the original story about Floyd boxing Conor right after he lost to Diaz. The reactions were almost identical. Will it happen? I don't think so but I didn't think the boxing match would happen either.
— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) February 20, 2018
McGregor had found a way to transcend the money making mechanisms of the UFC and fashioned a paycheck beyond anything ever contemplated by an MMA fighter.
He played to Mayweather’s two biggest vices, his ego and his love of money. Now, six months on, it seems that there remains an appetite for more.
McGregor’s Instagram post wishing Mayweather well was as much an exercise in sincerity as it was in an effort to goad his foe into stepping into the Octagon with him.
Now as Dana White confirmed that McGregor is set to lose his lightweight belt, he revealed that talks continue with the Mayweather camp over a rematch.
It essentially comes down to if the ageing Mayweather does indeed want to step into an arena in which he will as disadvantaged as McGregor was in the ring and whether that risk is outweighed by the prospect of earning what would likely be an obscene amount of money.
To many, the risk is simply too great. In the octagon, McGregor would almost certainly dismantle the boxer like a cat would a mouse. That said, you will not likely find an MMA fan that would not like to see this happen.
Mayweather continues to avoid facing questions about the fight head-on, much like he did before their boxing clash. Indeed, at times before their first meeting was confirmed, the retired boxer insisted that he was just that, retired.
As such, it is entirely possible that talk remains cheap and the pair will never come together again. Or, as we have learned through experience, they may indeed meet once more for one last knock.
What a circus that would be.