The UFC’s biggest star Conor McGregor is just days away from his Octagon return against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 246 in Las Vegas on January 18.
The Irish superstar had a one on one exclusive sit down interview with acclaimed MMA journalist Ariel Helwani for ESPN.
In the interview Helwani discussed many ranging topics including financial goals and boxing.
Helwani asked how much McGregor was making for his upcoming fight with Cerrone at UFC 246 and the former UFC double champion estimated he would be making $80 million for the event. He also claimed to make $50 million for his fight at UFC 229 against Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The 31-year-old McGregor also told Helwani that he wants to become a billion dollar athlete by the age of 35.
The Irish southpaw’s biggest purse to date was his pro boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather Jr. back in 2017. The bout generated 4.3 million pay-per-view buys and would earn him close to $100 million.
McGregor told Helwani that he wasn’t finished boxing and would love to rematch Floyd Mayweather Jr. and possibly fight Manny Pacquiao or Paulie Malignaggi in the future.
When he fought Mayweather he felt he could have won the fight but wasn’t prepared properly because he trained for the usual Floyd Mayweather defensive backfoot style.
Mayweather shocked him by coming forward halfway through the bout and applying pressure. McGregor, who was stopped in the tenth round, predicted if they fight again he will win.
It is clear that McGregor wants to box again in 2020 and wants a world title shot. He would likely campaign around the 154 or 160 pound weight classes in boxing, and another huge match-up for him that he didn’t mention in the interview would be against Mexican star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
A McGregor vs. Alvarez fight would be massive and likely be another huge pay-per-view event because both have huge fanbases and in their primes.
Pacquiao who at the age of 40 just became the oldest boxer to win a welterweight world title when he beat ten years his junior Keith Thurman for the WBA belt back in July of 2019, would be too small for the Irishman.
The last time the Filipino boxing legend fought above 147-pounds was against Antonio Margarito in 2010 when he fought for the WBC junior middleweight world title at a catchweight of 150-lbs. Even though Pacquiao won the fight, the bout took its toll on him and he said he wouldn’t fight above 147 again because of how grueling his battle with Margarito was.
McGregor also mentioned a fight with Paulie Malignaggi. The two of them have bad blood stemming from a leaked sparring session where it showed McGregor knocking down the former boxing champion. Malignaggi, who was brought in to help McGregor train for his boxing debut against Mayweather, was so offended by the leak of the photos and video clips that he challenged McGregor to a boxing match and to release the full sparring footage.
Malignaggi never got the McGregor fight but he fought his friend and stablemate Artem Lobov at BKFC 6 a bare knuckle boxing event and lost by decision to the Russian Hammer.
This was the first time McGregor openly suggested he would box Malignaggi, before he would just ignore him.