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'I'm boxing Manny Pacquiao in the Middle East': Conor McGregor says he is returning to the ring to face Filipino legend

'I'm boxing Manny Pacquiao in the Middle East': Conor McGregor says he is returning to the ring to face Filipino legend
MMA megastar Conor McGregor has said he is returning to the boxing ring to face Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao after being frustrated in his efforts to fight in the UFC octagon.

McGregor announced in June that he was retiring from the UFC, citing a lack of excitement at the potential options on offer. 

That followed a comeback victory in January in which the Irishman defeated Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone just 40 seconds into their welterweight bout in Las Vegas. 

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The 32-year-old has now lifted the lid on what he says were failed efforts to kickstart his 'season' following the Cerrone bout, sharing a series of screenshots of what he says were conversations with UFC boss Dana White. 

"3 weeks post my last record breaking event, I was campaigning for another blockbuster McGregor event to take place. Sad about my season I must say," McGregor tweeted. 

He added: "I was pushing hard for the season. Multiple opponents, multiple dates offered throughout. All to take place back to back. Then when covid hit and the talk was that I would have to wait for crowds again, I walked away from the situation. I was waiting long enough at that stage."

McGregor then dropped the bombshell claim that he was planning to face eight-division world boxing champion Pacquiao in a contest in the Middle East. 

"Anyway all water under the bridge who gives a fook. I’m boxing Manny Pacquiao next in the Middle East," he tweeted.  

"It will be a true honour to have faced two of the greatest boxers of the modern era, afraid of a fight."

Some fans will treat the tweets with skepticism given the nature of McGregor's frequent bluster on social media, although he has previously signaled his interest in facing the 41-year-old boxing icon.

Earlier this year, McGregor tweeted "I accept" in Pacquiao's native Filipino, which many saw as a hint that he had trained his sights on a showdown. 

Also on rt.com Playing PacMan: Ex-UFC champ Conor McGregor hints at long-rumored boxing scrap with Manny Pacquiao by accepting fight in Filipino

McGregor and Pacquiao share the same manager, Audie Attar, who is reported to have said that the pair are in talks to fight, although nothing is confirmed.

McGregor famously swapped MMA for boxing in 2017 when he met Floyd Mayweather in one of the most lucrative fights of all time in Las Vegas.

McGregor put up a showing which surprised many before being stopped in the 10th round by the undefeated former five-weight world champion.

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However, Pacquiao's fitness coach Justin Fortune has warned that the outcome would be very different were he to face the Filipino. 

READ MORE: 'He would OBLITERATE him': Pacquiao coach says bout with 'bum' Conor McGregor would end far more swiftly than Mayweather fight

Pacquiao was last in action in July of 2019 when he defeated Keith Thurman via split decision to win the WBA (Super) welterweight title and become the oldest champion in the history of the division. 

“Manny will destroy Conor McGregor inside three rounds. He will obliterate him too fast and too strong as an amazing fighter. McGregor is nothing," Fortune told The Manila Times

“I mean, my God, this is boxing, we are boxers. McGregor is an MMA guy and we can’t do MMA, and he can’t box, that’s very simple.”

If what McGregor says is true, we may have the chance to find out. 

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