Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn leads the way in the sport of boxing, and he’s masterminded the careers of a host of world champions. But one of his biggest heavyweight stars is eyeing a fight in the UFC.

WBC interim heavyweight champion Dillian Whyte has declared an interest in potentially stepping into the octagon to try his hand at MMA, and the man with a 27-1 (18 KOs) pro boxing record has gone on record saying he’d fancy his chances in a UFC bout against the division’s top men.

It sparked a lively conversation between Hearn, former world cruiserweight boxing champion Tony Bellew and former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping as the trio discussed crossover fights between boxers and MMA fighters on Hearn’s “Talk The Talk” podcast.

Hearn and Bellew had already discussed the topic before Bisping hopped on the show, and the promoter brought “The Count” up to speed.

“It was Dillian Whyte, actually, who talked about the fact that he would like to have an MMA fight – try to become world heavyweight champion, (then) move to the UFC after,” Hearn explained. “He was a kickboxer, he claims to have done some wrestling. It was just the fascination because we’ve never seen it, have we? We’ve always talked about it. Conor crossed over into the boxing world, as well. But we were saying earlier about we feel a boxer would have more chance in an octagon than an MMA fighter would have in a ring, just purely because there’s only one way to win (in boxing).”

Bisping’s response? Laughter.

“Are you trying to wind me up?!” he laughed, before explaining that he isn’t massively interested in seeing more crossover fights between fighters from both sports.

“I trained with Dillian back in the day. He came up to one of our training camps for a while and helped out Rampage Jackson, so I know Dillian a little bit.

“But we had that crossover, didn’t we? Conor and Floyd and that was fun, it was good. But I like seeing boxers go against boxers and proper MMA guys going against proper fighters, because they’re very different sports. I love boxing, I love MMA. Once you cross them over, I dunno, you’re just setting someone up for a fall, really.”

Bellew then recalled the one-sided mauling handed out to former multi-weight world boxing champion James Toney by Randy Couture at UFC 118 back in August 2010,

“We’ve seen it before,” he said. “James Toney thought he’d try his hand (at MMA) and just got absolutely manhandled by Randy Couture. It was one of the most embarrassing things I’ve ever seen.”

But Bisping replied, “But again, that was a total setup, because they gave him the worst possible matchup. Randy Couture knew full well he’s not going to stand and trade (expletive) blows with that guy. He’s just going to ankle-pick him, take him down and then tap him out, and that’s exactly what we saw. So it’s kind of a set-up for the fighters, but also for the fans.

“It’s a nightmare, because you want to see a good, old-fashioned fight. But then when the boxer just gets taken down straight away and tapped out you kinda leave a little pissed off. I would have at least liked to have seen them trade a little bit on the feet, you know what I mean?”

The conversation then turned to which UFC heavyweight might make for an ideal stylistic opponent for Whyte, should the Brit ever decide to take the plunge into MMA waters. Bellew suggested Alistair Overeem, but Bisping had a different name in mind.

“Overeem’s actually a really good wrestler, and he’s got a ton of submissions. I think he’s got more submissions than what he has knockouts, from earlier in his career,” he explained. “Somebody like Francis Ngannou – that would be good. He can’t wrestle to save his life. But if he connects with you, good night, mate!”

The suggestion brought some raised eyebrows and a wide smile from Hearn, who exclaimed, “Ngannou against Dillian Whyte? He’s an absolute monster!”

But Whyte himself certainly isn’t shying away from the possibility, as the man known as “The Bodysnatcher” tweeted UFC president Dana White to let him know he’s ready to step up and test himself against the UFC’s best big men.

“Anyone of the top @ufc @danawhite heavyweights that want it can get it make it happen @eddiehearn @skysports @skysportsboxing #Canman”

If it did happen, it wouldn’t be Whyte’s first foray into MMA. The Londoner featured on the UCMMA 1 fight card as a teenager back in 2008, where he scored a 12-second knockout win. His hands have gotten a lot better since then, too.

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