Conor McGregor has yet to be scheduled for his next fight. But if you ask Paulie Malignaggi, the UFC lightweight champion could find himself back in a boxing ring sooner rather than later. And his opponent would be none other than his former sparring partner-turned-foe in Malignaggi.
The rivalry dates back to when Malignaggi was brought in to McGregor’s camp to be a sparring partner in preparation for the Irishman’s Aug. 26 bout with Floyd Mayweather. But their working relationship went sour in a hurry and their vitriolic feud nearly overshadowed the build to Mayweather-McGregor.
Malignaggi has since lobbied for a boxing match with McGregor but it was expected that the 29-year-old would return to the UFC to defend his title. But the retired boxer revealed to Fight Hype that negotiations are underway for a potential boxing match between the two.
“I know Al Haymon’s talking to Dana White. I know they’re speaking, so if they want the fight they’ll make it,” Malignaggi said. “Once I spoke to Al and Team Haymon, and they told me they wanted to make this fight, I knew that the only way this fight doesn’t happen is if [McGregor] has absolutely no balls.”
Malignaggi also mentioned that a potential fight between the two could happen down the line, which would allow McGregor to defend one his UFC title before venturing back into the world of boxing.
Either way, Malignaggi believes that the real money is in a boxing match between the two and should be more than enough incentive to lure the 0-1 boxer into the ring.
“This fight will pay him more, this fight will get him more exposure,” Malignaggi said. “This fight is a bigger fight than anybody else he has. There’s no more Mayweather fight. This fight is the biggest fight there is.”
One could argue that a third fight between McGregor and Diaz or a potential superfight with Georges St-Pierre would be bigger than a boxing match with Malignaggi, but the one advantage “The Magic Man” has is the genuine heat between the two fighters.
Whether or not this is a real possibility is anyone’s guess. But you can expect either Dana White or Conor McGregor to address Malignaggi’s statements soon enough.
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