KEY POINTS

  • Conor McGregor wants a boxing match against Manny Pacquiao 
  • The Irishman is currently preparing for his UFC 257 clash against Dustin Poirier 
  • Dana White wants McGregor to focus on MMA rather than boxing 

Conor McGregor has made no secret of his desire to get back into the boxing ring while teasing a potential fight with Manny Pacquiao in 2021.

The Irishman even claimed that his upcoming UFC 257 bout against Dustin Poirier is part of his preparations for the prominent Filipino southpaw.

UFC president Dana White, who recently landed in Abu Dhabi ahead of McGregor’s showdown with Poirier on Yas Island on Jan. 23, is keen to see the former two-division titleholder focus solely on his bouts in the Octagon.

White has urged McGregor to put his boxing ambitions aside and put his whole attention on dominating the sport in 2021.

Moreover, the company head honcho is keen to see another showdown between the fiery Irish fighter and reigning division kingpin Khabib Nurmagomedov if the Russian can be convinced to come out of retirement.

“The way that this kid is right now mentally, physically, emotionally, I mean this kid is on and ready to fight,” White told ESPN, as quoted on MMA Mania. “I would love to see him focused on what he can do here at the UFC. Whether it takes another shot at that title against Khabib [Nurmagomedov] or fight for the title against somebody else if Khabib retires and defend that title.”

McGregor’s only foray into the boxing ring thus far was his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. via a tenth-round technical knockout in August 2017.

He has since been pining to get back into the squared-circle for a rematch, while also challenging other pro-boxers.

White has no qualms about McGregor’s desire to lace up a pair of eight-ounce boxing gloves, but he wants the mixed martial arts specialist to delay it until 2022.

“A boxing match with any of these guys, that stuff’s always going to be there. You are the absolute best in the world right now in MMA and the timing is right now. Not getting any younger," White. "I’d love to see him go for it here over the next year. If he wants to fight one of these boxing guys, do that next year. That fight’s always going to be there."

Ireland's Conor McGregor celebrates his first round TKO victory against American Donald Cerrone in a welterweight bout during UFC246 in Las Vegas Ireland's Conor McGregor celebrates his first round TKO victory against American Donald Cerrone in a welterweight bout during UFC246 in Las Vegas Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Steve Marcus