Martial arts

Tenshin Nasukawa accepts Conor McGregor fight challenge – but only at 58kg under kick-boxing rules

  • UFC star calls for mixed martial arts fight in Tokyo against Japanese kick-boxer
  • Nasukawa, who was pummelled by Floyd Mayweather, responds with his conditions
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2019, 12:00pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2019, 12:00pm

In his seemingly never-ending bid to one-up Floyd Mayweather Jnr, Conor McGregor has now called for a fight with Tenshin Nasukawa – and the Japanese kick-boxer is game.

“I wish to go to Tokyo to face Tenshin Nasukawa in a Mixed Martial Arts exhibition bout. Before this summer. Please arrange this, this instant. Yours sincerely, the champ champ,” former two-weight UFC champion McGregor tweeted, tagging the UFC and promoters Paradigm Sports Management in his message.

The 20-year-old Nasukawa was embarrassed in a one-sided TKO defeat by Mayweather in their three-round boxing “exhibition” fight on New Year’s Eve in Saitama, Japan.

The undefeated American, who had a four-kilogram weight advantage, toyed with his smaller opponent and knocked him down easily three times before Nasukawa’s team threw in the towel in the first round.

Conor McGregor mocks Floyd Mayweather’s knockout of Tenshin Nasukawa at Rizin 14

But it’s unlikely McGregor is just looking for an easier opponent after his own fourth-round submission loss to UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov last October. He has clearly had his interest piqued by the US$9 million Mayweather made for just 139 seconds of work.

McGregor mocked his old rival Mayweather – who beat him by 10th-round TKO in their mega-money boxing bout in 2017 – after the Nasukawa fight, and predicted he would soon overtake him on Forbes’ highest-paid athletes list.

Nasukawa didn’t take long to respond to McGregor on social media, though, and he welcomed the challenge with open arms.

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But after taking such a pasting by Mayweather, Nasukawa has seemingly smartened up and said he would only agree to the fight on his terms.

“Dear Mr McGregor,” he wrote on Twitter. “Thank you very much for remembering my name. I’m honoured that you would even consider fighting me. 58kg, kick-boxing rules would probably get us in the ring sometime in the near future.”

In a follow-up tweet, Nasukawa then promoted his upcoming appearance in Japan’s Rise kick-boxing world grand prix this year, and sent McGregor a warning: “So please watch your diet and wait for me!”

While it seems like a fun match-up, the prospect of the two facing each other is highly unlikely, with McGregor under contract for another five fights with the UFC.

The Irishman would also struggle to make Nasukawa’s proposed 58kg weight limit – McGregor fights at lightweight, or 66kg, in UFC, having previously fought at 61kg in the featherweight division.