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White Wants McGregor to “Focus” on MMA, Not Pacquiao Fight

Although Conor McGregor [1] could lock up a title shot at UFC 257 later this month, speculation about the decorated fighter boxing Manny Pacquiao [2] later this year isn’t going away. But, based on what Dana White continues to say about the rumored bout, it certainly doesn’t sound like the UFC will be on board with that match-up. 

Not anytime soon, anyway.

Image Credit: Instagram

Conor’s manager says Pacquiao fight is “inevitable” in 2021

McGregor is booked to fight Dustin Poirier in the headliner of the January 23rd event, which is taking place in Abu Dhabi. Plans for the rematch began to come together last year, after McGregor teased the possibility of boxing Pacquiao. 

Since Pacquiao is also managed by Audi Attar, and because he’s talked about boxing McGregor before, speculation about the fight quickly took off. More recently, Attar reportedly had this to say about the rumored match-up (quotes via Boxing Scene [3]).

“I definitely believe it’s inevitable for 2021,” Attar told Dubai Eye 103.8 Sport.

“Both fighters want it, that’s the key. You can’t make something happen or orchestrate it or choreograph it – which is the buzzword of this interview – you can’t fake that.

If one side wants it and the other doesn’t, it’s not going to happen.

But when both fighters want that fight to happen, why wouldn’t it happen?

If the fans want to see it – that almost guarantees that it’s going to happen, right? As there’s enough interest to develop something there.”

And Attar also apparently said this.

“The UFC said, ‘Alright, let’s do that rematch [with Poirier]’. We said, ‘OK, well let’s do that rematch first then, but then Manny will be the next fight’.

And that’s what both fighters want. So, that’s the plan,” Attar said.

“We’ve been having amazing conversation with stakeholders across the world, including the Middle East.

We’ll see where it goes. I’d be shocked if it didn’t happen in 2021.”

White wants  McGregor focused on MMA

That could be what McGregor and Pacquiao want, but, it doesn’t sound like White’s on board with that plan, at all. While talking to ESPN [4] recently, he was asked to comment on the McGregor vs. Pacquiao rumors, and he said this (quotes via MMA Mania [5]).

“I would love to see him focus on what he could do in the UFC. Whether it is taking another shot at the title against Khabib or fight for the title against somebody else if Khabib retires and then defend that title.”

“A boxing match with any of these guys, that sort of stuff is always going to be there. You are the absolute best in the world right now at MMA.”

So, it will be interesting to see what happens if McGregor beats Poirier. It’s possible that McGregor’s team is thinking that the Pacquiao fight could close out the year, after he fights for the UFC lightweight title, say this summer.

But, since McGregor boxed and lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2017, White hasn’t sounded overly keen on letting the UFC star box again.