Amir Khan, a two-division boxing champion, is branching out into the world of mixed martial arts. He recently became part-owner of the Super Fight League, an international MMA promotion In a phone interview with Newsday, he said that he would one day consider a fighting career in mixed martial arts. He also spoke about Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao and Long Island's Chris Algieri.
Newsday: Tell us about your MMA venture.
Amir Khan: I am delighted to be a part-owner of Super Fight League. Everywhere I go around the world, there is a huge demand for mixed martial arts. People want to watch MMA. I am a fan of boxing and MMA as well. In 2016, we plan to do over 50 shows. I want to help grow the brand and take it to another level. We have some of the best young fighters in the world. This is a great opportunity for your fighters to showcase their skills.
Newsday: What drew you to MMA?
Khan: It's giving boxing a run for its money. There is a huge global demand for MMA, it's one of the fastest growing sports in the world. I really think boxing is still ahead but you never know. These MMA fighters and fans are pushing hard and they are trying to help MMA become the biggest sport in the world.
Newsday: What is your role in SFL?
Khan: In addition to being an owner, I want to be a mentor to the SFL fighters. I will give them advice on conditioning, on dedication, on what it takes to succeed in a combat sport.
Newsday: Do you ever see yourself competing in MMA?
Khan: One day, I may put the MMA gloves on and compete. I think with my style and the size of the gloves, I can take care of a lot of the elite fighters in MMA. I think I could bang them out. I will have to learn a lot. One thing I've never done is kick. I would have to learn how to grapple. But if you put me against an elite MMA fighter, I think I can take him out. They are not trained to take the same kind of punches. Imagine Mike Tyson hitting you clean, you are going to sleep.
Newsday: Are you disappointed you haven't secured a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.?
Khan: Mayweather said prove yourself. I have proven myself many times. I beat some good names. Some good welterweights. Mayweather than goes and fights someone who is a lesser name than me. I am a better fighter than Andre Berto. No disrespect, we are good friends. But I think Mayweather is scared of [my] speed. He wants to keep his unbeaten record. He doesn't want to finish with a tough fight.
Newsday: Do you think Mayweather is satisfied with 49-0 or will he go for 50-0?
Khan: If he does, I still don't think he'll fight me, I think he doesn't want to be beaten. It would be a massive fight. I have a huge fan base in England. But I think he just wants the undefeated record, that's the reason he won't fight me. He's cheating the fight fans. He can't call himself 'TBE' ['The Best Ever'] because he's not fighting guys at their peak. Look at [Muhammad] Ali, he fought tough guys when he had to fight tough guys.
Newsday: Your last fight was against Chris Algieri, a fighter we've covered often. What is your take on Chris?
Khan: I have a lot respect for him. If he fought Manny Pacquiao the way he fought me, I think he would have beaten Manny Pacquiao. I think switching trainers did a lot for him. Chris is a very dangerous fighter.
Newsday: What is next for you?
Khan: Hopefully a Manny Pacquiao fight. A Pacquiao fight is something I would love to have. I think it can happen. That would be a huge fight. With his fan base and my fan base, that's a huge international fight. Obviously we both want to fight, right now it's up to the promoters.