It's the argument you most likely heard drunk males in there 20's discussing in finest Tapout t-shirts ironed by their mothers - Who could win in a battle between MMA Fighters and Boxers. Now, one could argue that Boxing is just one martial art that makes up the hundreds of styles that define a mixed martial artist so it was never a valid debate, but why let logic get in the way of a good article? So today, our mideons have complied a glorious list of Boxers who took this global dispute to heart, and decided to ditch the boxing gloves for fingerless noggin' knockers.
In 1973, Muhammad Ali fought Antonio Inoki at the Nippon Budokan Arena in Tokyo, Japan. The fight, which was fought under special rules, was perceived as a publicity stunt by the public. For the most part the 15-round fight was uneventful, but the damage Ali received haunted him for the rest of his career.
Holly Holm, who is an 18-time world champion in three separate divisions, made her mixed martial arts debut in 2001. Most recently, Holm showed her MMA evolution with a vicious head-kick knockout over the once unstoppable Ronda Rousey
The super heavyweight and knockout artist Butterbean was just as intimidating inside the boxing ring as he was in the MMA arena...Until you decided to mix it up and/or bring the fight to the ground, null and voiding his scary punching power.
Royce Gracie, who is widely considered the godfather of MMA, had his first UFC fight against Art Jimmerson, a Golden Gloves champion, in 1993. Jimmerson entered the cage with one taped hand and one gloved, in what has become a notorious outfit in MMA lore. The fight itself launched Gracie into the second round of the UFC 1 tournament and into MMA history.
Julius Francis, a former British heavyweight boxing champ, announced at Cage Rage 23 he would make his MMA debut against Gary Turner. Francis made the claim he would transition from boxing to MMA comfortably, even easily, as he was already a self-proclaimed good kickboxer. However, Turner had other thoughts in mind.
Ray Mercer, former heavyweight boxing champion, made his leap into MMA on June 23, 2007 against Kimbo Slice, as part of Cage Fury Fighting Championship 5. The bout was a non-sanctioned exhibition under the New Jersey Unified MMA rules.
Slice won the fight in the first round with a guillotine choke submission.
Two years later, Mercer fought former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia. The fight was short and displayed the true meaning of the statement "big trees fall hard" as Mercer knocked Sylvia out cold.
UFC President Dana White announced former boxing heavyweight champion James Toney signed a multi-fight deal on March 3, 2010.
Several months later, Toney fought former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Randy Couture at UFC 118.
The fight was a quick reminder why so many sports fans consider boxing and MMA to be different forms of competition.
Former boxing champion Ricardo Mayorga, who established one of the most polarizing attitudes in the fight community, originally attempted to make an MMA debut in 2010 against Din Thomas.
In 2013, Mayorga faced Wesley Tiffer on May 3, 2013. Mayorga landed an unrecognized illegal knee in Round 3, resulting in a technical knockout. However, the decision was later was overturned to a no contest.
Two months later, Mayorga fought Rene Martinez. The ending was very different.
And Mike Tyson (Almost)
Iron Mike was so close to start dabbling in the world of MMA, with a first announced fight between Tyson vs. Bob Sapp which was later scrapped and a rumor confrontation between Tyson and Fedor. Nothing came of it, leaving us to wonder what could have been.
At least we can always dream.
Have other Boxers that fought in mma? Comment below!