Conor McGregor: Fight vs. Manny Pacquiao ‘should happen in 2021’

Listen to Conor McGregor talk about preparing for the possibility of a fight with Manny Pacquiao in the near future.

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.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.