Conor McGregor may have announced his retirement in June -- the third time he has done so -- but he is in the headlines once again after claiming to have lined up his next fight. On Friday, McGregor took to Twitter to claim that his next fight would come in the boxing ring, where he would face Manny Pacquiao in the Middle East.
Shortly after his announcement, an ESPN report stated that McGregor's manager, Audie Attar, confirmed that while the two sides are in serious talks, the fight is not yet a done deal. Should things come together, the Middle East is one potential location for a late December 2020 or early January 2021 clash.
Meanwhile, longtime Pacquiao confidant and president of MP Promotions Sean Gibbons threw a little shade over the conversation at hand.
"This is Conor cracking into the Proper Twelve whiskey a little early today," Gibbons told BoxingScene.com. "It's Conor being Conor. It's something that's been talked about over the last year and it's something I think could happen one day. The senator is going to fight again in 2021. He's absolutely looking to fight and Conor McGregor is on the list of guys the senator could fight."
A bout between former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion McGregor and current WBA welterweight champ Pacquiao has been rumored for some time, with McGregor saying multiple times over the past year that there had been discussions about making the bout happen. Most notably, ahead of his return to the UFC in January, McGregor told ESPN, "We're actually close to signing Manny. There has been talks about the Manny fight. There was an offer made on that."
McGregor boxed longtime Pacquaio rival Floyd Mayweather in August 2017, his only trip to the professional boxing ring to date. McGregor exceeded the expectations of many despite being thoroughly outboxed before Mayweather scored a TKO in Round 10. The fight was one of the most financially lucrative events in combat sports history.
McGregor returned to the UFC in October 2018, losing a lightweight championship fight to Khabib Nurmagomedov before taking part in a wild post-fight brawl. He then retired in March 2019, returned for a bout with Donald Cerrone this January and subsequently announced another retirement. During the past few years, McGregor has been plagued by legal troubles, ranging from strong-armed robbery to assault to multiple allegations of sexual assault -- most recently being arrested in early September for attempted sexual assault while vacationing in Corsica, France.
Pacquiao, 41, has won world championships across eight weight classes while establishing himself as the second greatest fighter of his generation, behind only Mayweather. He won the WBA welterweight title from Keith Thurman in his most recent bout and was tied to a potential fight with Terence Crawford, but this week it was announced Crawford had signed a deal to fight Kell Brook in November.