Conor McGregor will be back in the UFC octagon this weekend when he takes on Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 on Fight Island, but the legendary fighter is also eyeing a return to the boxing ring, with a potential bout against Manny Pacquiao on the table.
“It’s almost a certainty,” McGregor said of a fight against Pacquiao in an exclusive interview with Sportsnet’s Arash Madani. “I’m hearing there’s a contract and all coming… it’s that close.”
“We haven’t (spoken) but it should happen in 2021.”
McGregor famously entered the ring with Floyd Mayweather in 2017 — in what became the second-highest-grossing pay-pay-per view of all-time — losing by TKO in the 10th round. Reports of a potential McGregor-Pacquiao bout first surfaced in January of 2020, with a report from Business Insider suggesting the fight could generate up to $250 million in revenues.
While the pandemic disrupted much of the fighting calendar in 2020, both sides seem interested in a fight this year, with Pacquiao telling a Filipino newspaper recently that “right now” McGregor is his preferred next opponent.
After his rematch with Poirier this weekend, McGregor will seemingly have options for his next bout as a rematch with the currently retired Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC lightweight crown is also possible, according to UFC president Dana White.
You can watch Madani’s full interview with McGregor — which includes McGregor’s thoughts on facing Poirier again and his interest in a rematch with Nurmagomedov — on Sportsnet Central and Sportsnet.ca Thursday.