When rumors first started that Conor McGregor was in talks to fight boxer Floyd Mayweather, no one really believed it would happen.
Mayweather had already retired with an undefeated 49-0 record. But more importantly, McGregor was under UFC contract, and not since Chuck Liddell traveled to Japan to take part in the PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix in 2003 had the organization shared an athlete with another promotion.
McGregor willed that fight into existence, and he did much better over 10 rounds with Mayweather than most expected. But in the end, he lost by TKO and returned to the sport of MMA.
As the Irishman embarks on what he hopes will be a very busy 2020, McGregor has once again started to stoke the flames of a potential return to the squared circle.
“He’s serious about boxing,” McGregor’s longtime manager Audie Attar told MMA Fighting. “He said it. That’s something that I can tell you, if he says something he has interest in, it’s likely going to happen.”
Following McGregor’s win over Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 246, Mayweather was already promoting a potential rematch on Instagram. Manny Pacquiao called for a fight with McGregor even before his first fight in 15 months.
Most recently, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who’s hated by UFC President Dana White and once infamously called UFC fans “a bunch of skinhead white guys,” has now jumped aboard the McGregor bandwagon.
This past week, Arum suggested a two-fight deal where McGregor would box undefeated champion Terence Crawford and then face him inside the UFC’s octagon.
For his part, Attar keeps an eye on all of these potential offers, not only to see what interests McGregor, but figure out what would entice fans to tune in.
“We definitely monitor everything,” Attar said. “We monitor not only fan engagement and interest from the public, but then you look at who’s out there talking what. Because it could be where we have a few different options to weigh and decide on.
“At the end of the day, I saw Floyd, I saw Manny and now Bob Arum, who at one point said, ‘It’s not a smart idea to crossover.’ He’s a believer now as well.”
McGregor’s focus seems to be aimed at the UFC right now. But just like what happened with the first Mayweather fight, he’ll always be ready to answer when opportunity knocks. His manager is excited about the prospects for the future with a motivated client ready to stay busy in 2020 and beyond with goals in both MMA and boxing.
“Yes it’s going to be busy, but we welcome that,” Attar said. “We’re super excited for it. I think we’re all on the same page when it comes to ambition and goals, and so that’s really fun to see when your entire team is in sync.
“I think we all welcome that type of work load. We don’t look at it as pressure. We look at it as opportunity.”