Sportsmail looks at Conor McGregor next potential opponents in boxing

Could he be granted a huge rematch against Floyd Mayweather? Or is a double-fight deal against Terence Crawford on the cards? Sportsmail looks at who Conor McGregor could fight in a sensational return to boxing

  • Conor McGregor has teased that he could make a sensational return to boxing
  • Several big names have been thrown into the hat to take on the Irish UFC fighter
  • McGregor was beaten by Mayweather in his only fight inside the ring in 2017
  • But who could he face? Sportsmail takes a look at his most likely opponents 

Conor McGregor could be lining himself up for a sensational return to the boxing ring and looks to have plenty of options when choosing his next opponent.

The Irishman, who suffered a 10th-round stoppage defeat by Floyd Mayweather in his first professional fight back in August 2017, has teased that he could once again step inside the squared-circle.

But who could McGregor realistically face? Here, Sportsmail goes through four potential opponents.

Conor McGregor has admitted that he would like to make a sensational return to boxing

McGregor has made it no secret that he would like to step back into a boxing ring and a money-spinning rematch with Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather is certainly on the cards.

Their first fight was one of the most lucrative fights in sporting history and a sequel would likely rake in similar figures given their personalities.

However, should there be a rematch, the Irishman wants to walk away as the victor.

Speaking last month, McGregor said ahead of his fight with Donald Cerrone: ‘I would love that Floyd rematch. I thought I done very well. I thought with some slight adjustments I would have done even better. Now I think I would I would take the victory.’

McGregor has already challenged Floyd Mayweather (left) to a rematch in the boxing ring

Mayweather beat McGregor in the Irishman’s first professional boxing fight back in 2017

Manny Pacquiao

The allure of fighting McGregor appears to be too big a chance to pass up on for some high-profile boxers.

And Manny Pacquiao appears to be one of the front-runners to get a slice of the action with McGregor confirming that he’s held talks with the Filipino over a fight.

McGregor has made it no secret that he wants a world title in boxing and is motivated by pursuing history in both sports so this is the kind of match-up to pique his interest. 

Reports last week even suggested a fight could happen in the near future after the 41-year-old signed a deal with McGregor’s management company, Paradigm Sports.

Paradigm have pledged to take care of Pacquiao’s ‘commercial and competitive endeavours’, meaning a blockbuster meeting with McGregor is now high up on the list of priorities. 

Manny Pacquiao is also an option for McGregor who wants to become a champion in the sport

Terence Crawford

While fights with Mayweather and Pacquiao would certainly garner a lot more interest, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has proposed a slightly different proposition.

Last month, Arum suggested that McGregor could sign a two-fight deal with Terence Crawford, where the duo would take each other on once in the ring and once in the cage.

‘You’ve got an elite boxer in Terence Crawford fighting an elite MMA guy in Conor McGregor under MMA rules,’ Arum told ESPN last month. ‘You don’t think that would be interesting and something the public would want to see? I think it’s very realistic.’

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum believes Terence Crawford could fight McGregor in both sports

Crawford (right), who beat Amir Khan (left) last year, also has a wrestling past

While Crawford is one of the world’s best boxers, the 32-year-old has a wrestling past and revealed that he still often dabbles in it whenever he has some spare time.

‘I always had the talent for wrestling, but I liked to throw my hands. I liked punching people in the face more than hugging them,’ Crawford said. ‘My dad was a wrestler, my uncle and my grandfather wrestled, and they were always teaching me the moves. I just liked boxing more.

‘A lot of people may say if Terence goes into the octagon he will get crushed, but they don’t know me.’

Paulie Malignaggi

This is a feud that has been rumbling on for a few years now and would make logical sense for the pair to finally have it out in the ring.

While Malignaggi did retire in 2017, the proposition of facing McGregor in the ring could be a very tempting proposition.

Since he hung up his gloves, Malignaggi joined the Irishman’s team and helped him train for his fight with Mayweather back in 2017.

However, things apparently turned violent during a sparring session leading to Malignaggi quitting the team.

Paulie Malignaggi (right) helped McGregor (left) train for his fight with Mayweather in 2017

The American boxer was asked by talkSPORT last September if he’d be willing to settle things inside the ring, which Malignaggi responded: ‘Yeah, course. Totally, I’d fight him winner takes all, I’ve said that for years.

‘Whoever loses doesn’t get a penny, I’d be all for that. In the octagon he beats me, come on. We can do it bare-knuckle, we can do it boxing.’

McGregor also revealed last month that he’s still considering a fight with Malignaggi inside the ring.

PS While a return to boxing is on the cards, McGregor is also considering his options in UFC as he enjoyed an explosive comeback to the octagon last month when he took apart Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in just 40 seconds.

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