One-time boxer Conor McGregor continues to be the subject of UFC comeback avoidance as dangerous fights against Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov lie in wait for the current lightweight champion upon his return.
‘The Notorious’ is blaming a lack of monetary incentive, on the back of making over $120 million to battle Floyd Mayweather, leaving the Irishman with only one real option without a rematch to consider.
Mayweather has ruled out crossing over to UFC and knows there’s no real selling point to facing McGregor in the squared circle again and we all know where the 29 year-old will most probably turn in search of another huge payday.
Former pound for pound number one Manny Pacquiao is on the lookout for a fight after unfathomably losing to Jeff Horn last summer – in an encounter that looked for all the world like a points win for the Filipino Senator.
The pair have already made very public ‘social media contact’ – as McGregor and Mayweather did to put the feelers out on a collision - whilst the positive vibes from Pacquiao and his fans would have been evident from the outset.
Whichever way you look at it, Pacquiao v McGregor sells – if not in the manner the Mayweather fight did - but at least to the extent of making a couple of million Pay-Per-View buys. This means at least an eight-figure check for both participants and would be more than enough to get them out of bed in the morning.
One of the biggest problems the contest faces though is where the potential PPV would be sold.
Pacquiao is no longer with the HBO paid platform and McGregor’s handler Dana White, who once again would have to be involved, slated Showtime last week despite making a massive amount of cash from their staging of the Mayweather fight last August.
The ‘Pacman’ has most recently been tied to ESPN but would need to find an outlet – just for a one-off – in order to maximise the revenue a McGregor fight could make in the boxing ring.
Could White take the fight to a UFC show? – Unlikely, which means HBO could well be given first refusal despite not being given any option whatsoever on Mayweather v McGregor due to previous animosity with the Money Man.
McGregor fanatics would certainly believe their fighter would have a better chance of causing an upset against Pacquiao – who is coming off a loss - and unlike Mayweather, has definitely been showing signs of obvious decline.
Other than Pacquiao, McGregor would have to look into the possibility of moving up further in the UFC ranks to a clash with welterweight ruler Tyron Woodley – with whom there’s been considerable beef in the past.
Khabib or Ferguson don’t seem to be on McGregor’s monetary radar right now, which means Pacquiao would be the top target, as a solid alternative to attempts at becoming a three-weight UFC title holder in the foreseeable future.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay