McGregor’s last appearance in a competitive capacity came in his loss to boxing living legend Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August.
In the lead up to that bout, Conor McGregor recruited former two-time boxing world champion Paulie Malignaggi as a sparring partner. “Magic Man” left that role on bad terms following McGregor’s camp releasing edited footage of a sparring match which Malignaggi believed made him look incompetent.
Bunce revealed to 5 Live Boxing Podcast listeners that the Brooklyn-native is confident that a boxing bout with McGregor is set to happen in April (via StarSport):
“Malignaggi thinks it’s done and dusted for April.”
Bunce’s fellow presenter, Mike Costello, believes a contest between Malignaggi and McGregor is “a fight I think could sell.”
StarSport also reportedly asked Malignaggi if McGregor would release full footage of their now-infamous sparring encounter:
“No, he’s not going to release that,” Malignaggi said. “If he releases that footage, everything he says is a lie. There’s no way he’s going to release that footage.
“Here’s the thing about Conor McGregor: He understands the psychology of the term perception is reality. He lives by that. He doesn’t live by a true reality, he lives by a perception is reality type of thing. He makes things bigger (than they are). His accomplishments, when he accomplishes something, he makes it a bigger thing than what it is. When something doesn’t go his way it, he’ll make it as of little consequence as he can.”
Malignaggi is a clear favorite to win a potential bout with betting comparison site oddschecker.com, who also have a probable date for that fight as March 17, which happens to be St. Patricks Day.
McGregor is still the UFC’s lightweight champion and is expected to return to the promotion in 2018, with 155-pound interim-champion Tony Ferguson waiting for his shot at the title. The fact that McGregor recently admitted to finding it ‘hard to get excited’ for that bout should worry “El Cucuy” and UFC fans alike.
Citing a huge drop in expected pay-per-view numbers expected for a lightweight unification title fight in comparison to the “6.5 million” he claims his bout with Mayweather sold, “The Notorious” is in no rush to return to the Octagon. This may add some weight to Malignaggi’s alleged claims that he has the next shot at the Irish superstar, albeit inside the ropes.