Conor McGregor has an MMA fight to focus on, but is a return to boxing inevitable?
First up is Dustin Poirier, whom McGregor has signed on to rematch in the UFC 257 main event on Jan. 23. After that, though, it might not be a guarantee that his follow-up fight will take place inside the octagon.
McGregor’s manager, Audie Attar of Paradigm Sports Management, is steadfast in his belief that McGregor will fight boxing champion Manny Pacquiao. Why? Because Attar also represents Pacquiao – and he knows both of his clients want the fight.
“Conor has a fight Jan. 23 against Dustin Poirier,” Attar said in an interview with Bloomberg. “He’s gonna be handling business against Dustin first, but Conor’s come out and said he wants to fight Manny. Manny’s come out and said he wants to fight Conor. As I’ve stated publicly before, we’ve had conversations.
“That is a fight that we’re definitely going to make because both fighters want it, and there seems to be interest from the fans all around the world.”
Dana White may have something to say about that since McGregor is under contract with the UFC. The UFC president hasn’t expressed any interest publicly in working on a boxing match between McGregor and Pacquiao. White even threatened to sue Pacquiao and Paradigm in September after McGregor, who was retired at the time, teased a potential showdown.
White’s been down this road with McGregor before. He allowed the former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion to try his hand at boxing in August 2017 when he took on Floyd Mayweather in “The Money Fight.” McGregor surprised many with his performance in the early going but ultimately was dominated until he lost by 10th-round TKO.
Pacquiao, who lost a 2015 decision to Mayweather, hasn’t fought since his split decision win over Keith Thurman in July 2019.
McGregor returned to MMA this past January at UFC 246, where he TKO’d Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds. His plans for a 2020 “season” were disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, leading to his retirement.
McGregor’s UFC 257 clash with Poirier is a rematch of their September 2014 fight won by McGregor.