Dana White hopes to keep Conor McGregor out of the boxing ring in 2021

When Conor McGregor pushed for a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jr., almost no one believed it would come to fruition. But it did.

McGregor may have lost the bout, but he won big in his career with a $100 million payday and a huge boost to his popularity. He’s slated to headline UFC 257 in January, but has been teasing a return to the boxing ring opposite Manny Pacquiao.

While UFC president Dana White was on board for the Mayweather fight, he isn’t currently inclined to see McGregor return to competing under the Marquess of Queensbury rules anytime soon.

“The way that this kid is right now mentally, physically, emotionally, I mean this kid is on and ready to fight. I would love to see him focused on what he can do here at the UFC,” White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.

“Whether it’s take another shot at that title against Khabib (Nurmagomedov) or fight for the title against somebody else if Khabib retires and defend that title.”

Khabib currently holds the UFC lightweight championship, but announced his retirement following his last fight. White, however, is holding out hope that he can convince Khabib to fight at least one more time.

If McGregor defeats Poirier at UFC 257, White is hopeful that he can set up a rematch with Khabib instead of dipping his toes back into the circus-like atmosphere that surrounded the Mayweather bout.

A boxing match is always there for Conor McGregor

“A boxing match with any of these guys, that kind of stuff is always going to be there. You are the absolute best in the world right now in MMA and the timing is right now. Not getting any younger. I’d love to see him go for it here over the next year. If he wants to fight one of these boxing guys, do that next year. That fight’s always going to be there,” said White, who doesn’t discount what McGregor accomplished simply by luring Mayweather into a fight.

“That was the perfect storm. It all sort of came together perfectly with Floyd. It was fun. It was a fun thing to do but sort of a one and done for me,” he continued.

“I told you guys a few weeks ago at the fight, there’s a lot of fights out there that could be made. I get it, that could make money. You’ve got people running around talking stuff all the time. It’s not really what I do. Poirier vs. McGregor, that’s what I do.”

UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2 is the promotion’s first pay-per-view event of 2021, taking place on Jan. 24 in Abu Dhabi (Jan. 23 in the United States). Will it also be the beginning of McGregor’s return to MMA glory or will it simply serve as a launching pad back into boxing?

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