Conor McGregor will return to the octagon Saturday at UFC 246 for the first time in more than a year, but the Irish fighter also has his eyes on another big-time boxing matchup.
The former two-division UFC champion, during an interview with ESPN, said he is interested in either a boxing rematch against Floyd Mayweather Jr. or a bout with Manny Pacquiao.
McGregor hasn’t boxed since August 2017.
“It was a great, great experience, and, you know, I look forward to doing it again,” McGregor said of boxing. “It’s going to happen again.”
McGregor, who will face Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in the main event of UFC 246 this weekend in Las Vegas, said the retired and undefeated Mayweather has been “flirting” with the idea of fighting him again. Mayweather, 42, scored a 10th-round TKO win over McGregor in 2017 in one of the most lucrative fights in boxing history.
“He can go and pick someone else, it’s not gonna be the same,” said McGregor, who project he will make “over $80 million” for fighting Cerrone.
UFC President Dana White said recently he has a handshake deal with Mayweather to come out of retirement and fight again, and he may talk with the boxer’s promoter, Al Hayman, this summer. McGregor said he and Mayweather’s initial fight deal had a verbal agreement for an MMA component, but it’s “not going to happen.”
What could complicate the matter is McGregor is currently the subject of two sexual assault investigations in Ireland. In the ESPN interview, McGregor denies the allegations.
Mayweather, who only has fought an exhibition fight since beating McGregor and moving to 50-0 as a professional, teased a comeback this past November in an Instagram post with the caption, “Coming out of retirement in 2020.”
It came after he told Reuters he was concerned with staying healthy and was done with the “brutal sport” of boxing.
“I’ll still travel and do exhibitions. I make great money doing exhibitions — between 10 and 30 million dollars,” Mayweather said back in November. “I think I make more doing that than most fighters make fighting.”
If Mayweather isn’t willing to fight again, McGregor didn’t rule out facing Pacquiao. He said on “offer” was made on a Pacquiao fight but the timing is right.
“Not just yet,” McGregor said.