Conor McGregor says a return to professional boxing is an eventuality, and WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman agrees.
A return to the sport of boxing seems inevitable for McGregor and his path to getting that world title might be much shorter than people realize. Speaking with The Sun's Jack Figg, Sulaiman said that the UFC superstar would only have to beat one ranked opponent before being granted a championship opportunity.
"I would say, he needs to face and defeat a ranked fighter, then he would be eligible to be ranked and to compete for a title," said Sulaiman. "If he is to start boxing and proves with victories in boxing then he should certainly be given the opportunity to fight for a world title."
"What we saw with Mayweather was of course different with the times, the rounds, it is not the same to fight five rounds to then go 12 rounds. But he has ability, he has power, he has status as a fighter," he continued. "But, to compete and become a world champion in the WBC, he would need to fight in boxing and by merit be ranked. Then, he would be in the position to challenge. I don't know what weight category he would be, but definitely he would need to get a decisive win against a quality opponent to be considered to be ranked."
The Irish star has his hands full currently focusing on his return to MMA in the rematch against Poirier. But if all goes as planned and McGregor wins in impressive fashion at UFC 257, the amount of negotiation power he will have with the UFC on taking a potential boxing bout next could be significant. His manager Audie Attar even believes a matchup with Pacquiao is inevitable for 2021, saying as much when he spoke with Dubai Eye 103.8's Chris McHardy and Robbie Greenfield
"I definitely believe it's inevitable for 2021. Both fighters want it, that's the key," Attar said (h/t The Sun). "You can't make something happen or orchestrate it or choreograph it - which is the buzzword of this interview - you can't fake that. If one side wants it and the other doesn't, it's not going to happen. But when both fighters want that fight to happen, why wouldn't it happen?"
Former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion McGregor will make his return to the Octagon at UFC 257 on January 23 in a rematch against Dustin Poirier. But McGregor did talk about wanting to return to the sport of boxing, speaking about being in negotiations with Manny Pacquiao, wanting a rematch with Floyd Mayweather, and adding a boxing world title to his collection ahead of his UFC 246 clash with Donald Cerrone almost a year ago. The Irishman is only 0-1 as a professional boxer losing his lone bout in the mega-money matchup with Mayweather back in August of 2017.
McGregor had some moments in the fight, even landing a pretty clean counter left uppercut on the boxing legend, but ultimately Mayweather just outclassed him and would get the finish from a referee stoppage in the tenth round. Financially though the fight was an enormous success, bringing in 4.3 million pay-per-view buys which is the second-highest mark in history only behind Mayweather's 2015 matchup with Manny Pacquiao that sold 4.6 million buys.