Former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor has stated that a fight with eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao could happen in 2021 but seems like ‘Pac-Man’ has lost interest in it.
McGregor competed in an MMA bout last saturday at the Etihad Arena on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, in a fight that could have catapulted him to the top of the division. However, the No.2-ranked lightweight, Dustin Poirier put McGregor against the fence, beat him to the floor, and then left him bloodied, defeated, and concussed on the canvas midway through the second round of a wild fight.
Before the UFC 257 headliner, there had been talks that McGregor and Pacquiao would fight but now that the Irishman’s lost for the third time in as many years, the Filipino fighter has left the discussion table.
While his fight with Poirier is one of the most anticipated fights of the year, Conor McGregor was already talking about a move to boxing to take on the Filipino legend. Speaking to Josh Thompson and John McCarthy on the ‘Weighing in’ podcast, Conor McGregor talked about the possibility of fighting Manny Pacquiao.
“That is certainly how the southpaw bout came about with Dustin—that, and also he’s No. 1 in the rankings I believe,” McGregor said. “He’s right atop the division, so it makes sense. But I certainly wanted to get in with a good southpaw, and Manny is in the wings waiting. I know those talks are intensifying, and I believe sometime this year, maybe later this year, this bout will take place.”
Manny Pacquiao On Conor Mcgregor fight
After McGregor lost to Poirier via second-round TKO, however, interest in the matchup has waned.
“It looked like Conor looked past Dustin and got knocked out,” Manny Pacquiao’s manager Sean Gibbons told The Sun. “Maybe he had the Senator on his mind. I think the demand for the fight is not there presently. Conor has some business to clean up and handle in the UFC,” he added. “It’s a bummer, it could have been fun for as long as it lasted.”
While Pacquiao and his team are surely disappointed to have missed out on a blockbuster boxing match with McGregor, who remains one of the biggest stars in combat sports, they have already found a new and compelling challenge in the form of lightweight star Ryan Garcia. The pair, who are separated by two decades in age, are in talks to meet in an exhibition bout later this year.
The 22-year-old is unbeaten with 18 knockouts in his first 21 fights. He most recently dispatched Luke Campbell on Jan. 2. Accepting an offer from Manny would be a no-brainer for Garcia. Beyond his name recognition, Manny Pacquiao is two weight classes above Garcia. This would be the biggest win of Garcia’s career, and his stock wouldn’t take much of a hit in the event he lost.
A Garcia vs. Pacquiao fight would be a colossal money-spinner given Garcia’s huge social media popularity and Pacquiao’s status as one of the greatest fighters of all time. However, if this fight is next up for the pair, it would reflect a change in plans for them both, as Manny Pacquaio’s camp talked about a clash with UFC fighter Conor McGregor. Conor’s loss to Dustin Poirier at Saturday’s UFC 257 likely pushes those plans away forever.
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