UFC News: Conor McGregor’s Delayed Return Gets Scrutinized as Insider Highlights Potential Manny Pacquiao Super Fight- “Point the Double Barrels”

Published 02/09/2024, 1:37 PM EST

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As of now, no one knows when Conor McGregor will be back in the UFC. ‘The Notorious’ has been out of the octagon for nearly three years after horrifically snapping his leg in his UFC 264 loss to Dustin Poirier. The Irishman was supposed to fight Michael Chandler in December last year after they appeared as rival coaches on TUF 31. However, that fight has been in limbo for months now.

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On New Year’s Eve, McGregor announced that he will be fighting Chandler at UFC 302 on June 29 this year, however, this was quickly slapped down by Dana White, who told reporters McGregor was not ready. After this, the bombastic Dubliner suggested a UFC 300 date, but that seems unlikely at the moment. However, verbose former UFC title contender and commentator Chael Sonnen has an interesting take on the reasons behind McGregor being denied a UFC 302 appearance.

Is Pacquiao the reason behind the delay in Conor McGregor’s comeback?

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Conor McGregor went to Saudi Arabia twice last year to attend various boxing mega-events organized in the kingdom. While there, he spoke about wanting to fight boxing icon and GOAT contender Manny Pacquiao in a crossover boxing match. ‘Mac’ indicated that the Saudis are willing to finance the card, however, there has been no word from the Irishman on the fight after that.

In a video on his YouTube channel, Chael Sonnen was puzzled by Dana White’s decision to not let McGregor fight in the June 29 card since there was no bigger fight that could headline the card. He felt the promotion would gain nothing from delaying the bout to the end of the year.

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“True, there is no main event on June 29th. There is no fight that’s bigger. Conor still controls the day so it wouldn’t matter what the fight was, it’s not bigger. And if you’re going to take that exact fight and you’re going to do it and why not just do it at that date? Why do it three months later?” Sonnen asked. The West Lynn, Oregon native felt there was something more complex going on behind the scenes between ‘The Notorious’ and the promotion revolving around the potential Pacquiao bout.

Sonnen thinks ‘Mac’ is using Pacquiao fight for leverage against UFC

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Sonnen speculated that perhaps Conor McGregor, after securing the Pacquiao crossover boxing match, was using this as leverage in negotiations with the UFC to secure more favorable terms for his next UFC fight. ‘The Bad Guy’ felt that a potential McGregor-Pacquiao bout may not excite fans, and that both the fighters were in because of the money at stake.

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“The reason wherever that sits is the answer to our equation. There was something going on with Conor and [Manny] Pacquiao. Conor would like to box Pacquiao, that’s true. Pacquiao would like to box Conor that’s true…so is that what the delay is? Did Conor operate like a snake and we don’t know it? Did he go and try to get himself leverage through getting the Pacquiao fight bring that leverage back to the UFC and point the double barrels at them?” Sonnen speculated.

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What do you make of Sonnen’s claims? Do you see McGregor returning to the ring, facing Pacquiao this time? When do you think the Irishman will return, if at all, inside the Octagon?

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Written by:

Kanishk Thakur

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Hi, I am Kanishk and I am a UFC Writer at EssentiallySports. I love telling the stories of these magnificent fighters and this wildly unpredictable sport that is so frustrating and yet so joyous at the same time. I never really used to watch MMA, thinking it too crude or brutal a sport to deserve respect.
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