EDITORIAL — With the Mayweather vs. McGregor boxing match behind us, questions about UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor’s fighting career swirl. Will “The Notorious” remain in boxing or head back to the Octagon where he became a household name?
UFC president Dana White doesn’t want to see McGregor take another boxing bout for obvious reasons. McGregor is the face of the UFC.
A boxing match would probably pay McGregor more than a fight in the Octagon, and he has a short window to continue to cash in inside the ring. A fight against former sparring partner Paulie Malignaggi would be an easy sale.
McGregor is under UFC contract. He’s the only fighter in the promotion’s history to hold titles in two divisions at the same time, but those divisions have largely moved on without him. He was stripped of the 145-pound belt due to inactivity and Max Holloway now holds the featherweight title. At UFC 216 on Oct. 7, the UFC will crown an interim lightweight champion in McGregor’s absence.
For McGregor, it’s always been about big money fights. While he’s won two UFC titles, he’s yet to defend one. Instead, he went after the biggest payday he could get by hyping a fight against Floyd Mayweather. He created his own promotion, McGregor Sports and Entertainment, to add another revenue stream for his fights, but there’s no McGregor Sports and Entertainment in a UFC fight, at least not yet.
The real question is, where does McGregor stand to make more money? In boxing, he’d get paid as a fighter and a promoter. He’d be able to draw from both the MMA and boxing markets to generate pay-per-view buys. He’d also be able to court sponsors that he can’t for his UFC bouts.
It’s not something MMA fans want to hear, but McGregor would stand to make considerably more for his next fight if it were in a boxing ring. There’s more interest in seeing him face Malignaggi than the winner of Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee.