Conor McGregor came up short in his quest to become the king of boxing last night, but the CEO of Mayweather Promotions believes the UFC champ has a future in boxing, if he wants.

McGregor came out aggressively against Floyd Mayweather on Saturday, and fired plenty of punches at the renowned boxer. Whether Mayweather was having difficulty reading his opponent, or just sitting back is hard to say, but the opening three rounds went to the Irish star (although, only one judge scored all three to McGregor).

Mayweather, however, cranked up the offense in the mid rounds as McGregor slowed down. Then, in round then, Mayweather forced the referee’s intervention after he landed numerous shots on McGregor. After the entertaining fight, Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe, had this to say about McGregor’s future in boxing (quote via MMA Fighting):

“I was actually very surprised with his ability to do certain things,” Ellerbe said. “He definitely has, if he chooses to — he definitely has a future in boxing, if he chooses to. To be able to last as long as he did, he’s a very tough competitor. He has a big heart, and again, he showed a lot, especially with this being his professional debut. I think that he did the UFC proud, he did his country proud, and he should definitely keep his head up high.

“He’s tough as nails,” Ellerbe added. “He wasn’t going to lay down. He has a big heart and I understand why he’s the biggest star in the UFC, and one of the biggest stars in all of sports.”

The bout certainly was more entertaining and competitive than a lot of folks, particularly those from boxing, predicted it would be. But will McGregor return to the ring? Hard to say. Barring a contractual battle, McGregor would need the blessing of the UFC, so, unless a big time fight was tabled, it’s not likely. Not soon anyways. The UFC needs McGregor back in the Octagon, driving pay-per-view sales.

Mayweather – McGregor took place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.