UFC superstar Conor McGregor already has an important UFC fight lined up against Dustin Poirier at UFC 264, but an old rival from his boxing days is still set on making sure the Irishman remembers what happened when the two stars sparred each other back in 2017. Retired boxing champion Paulie Malignaggi revealed to Heavy in an exclusive interview that the real reason McGregor never released the full footage of their now infamous sparring session is that the UFC fighter doesn’t want people to see what really happened.
About potentially fighting McGregor all these years later to settle the score, Malignaggi said, “I would absolutely smoke the guy.”
You can watch that interview below.
Malignaggi was doing media rounds in support of his color commentator duties at BYB 6.
BYB 6 takes place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The bare-knuckle boxing card is scheduled for July 16, and it will be streamed live via YouTube.
You can see more info about that fight card below.
ALL the latest UFC news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on UFC newsletter here!
How McGregor vs. Malignaggi Feud Began
McGregor invited Malignaggi to his training camp when he was getting ready for his 2017 megafight boxing match against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The feud between “Notorious” and “The Magic Man” ignited when McGregor’s team released pictures and footage of the MMA fighter knocking down Malignaggi. The boxer left the camp in a huff over the issue, and the two stars have gone back and forth about what really happened behind closed doors during that sparring session ever since.
Another clip of the fight was later released, but Malignaggi still maintains that he got the better of the action over the majority of the rounds and that the only reason the full sparring session hasn’t been released is to protect McGregor’s image.
Follow the Heavy on UFC Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Malignaggi: ‘He’s Been Everybody’s Punching Bag But Mine’
Since that sparring session, McGregor has gone 1-2 in the UFC and 0-1 in boxing. McGregor lost to Mayweather by 10th-round stoppage, and he also lost UFC fights to Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier.
“He’s fought everybody but me. He’s been everybody’s punching bag but mine,” Malignaggi said.
But the boxer didn’t stop there. Malignaggi said people should add his name to the list of fighters who have handled McGregor in recent years.
“What people don’t realize is that he started out as my punching bag, I had dibs on that, he started out as my punching bag at the gym, then he became everybody else’s punching bag afterwards. But of course, you’re not going to see that because he showed you a couple of edited clips,” Malignaggi said.
Malignaggi Breaks Down Fight, Slams MMA Fans
Malignaggi doesn’t refute that McGregor landed some punches in the fight. According to The Sun, the two stars went 20 total rounds with each other before Malignaggi left the camp. But Malignaggi believes the full sparring footage would show a different fight than the short video clips released by McGregor’s team.
“Of course, he landed a couple of good shots. In the last rounds, I wasn’t in great shape, and he got me in the last rounds. But even in those last rounds, only the holding shots did he land. And when I went down, that wasn’t a punch landing. That was from him holding behind my head, so…” Malignaggi said.
Never one to shy away from expressing controversial opinions, Malignaggi claimed in the same interview that MMA fans were the “dumbest fans in combat sports” and that his situation with McGregor was evidence of that.
“I feel like it’s self-explanatory. Again, this is probably one of the reasons I feel like [the MMA] crowd is probably the dumbest in sports. Because the guy didn’t release the video, you kind of see what he’s about,” Malignaggi said.
He doubled down on the rhetoric later in the chat.
“But in reality, it’s kind of self-explanatory, so if you can’t understand that, then we’re on a different wavelength as far as brain intelligence. There’s nothing I can do to help that. I can only try to educate these fans in my way,” Malignaggi said.
Malignaggi Would Fight McGregor Under One Condition
Malignaggi retired from boxing in 2017, but the American said he would be tempted to make a comeback to face McGregor inside a boxing ring. While he doesn’t expect the megafight to happen, he’s at least thought about it enough already to offer some terms for the fight.
“I think I’d probably be tempted to…but for Conor, it would have to be ‘winner takes all’. Because he’s got to fight me for free. I don’t think that’s ever going to happen, because he knows if he ever fought me ‘winner takes all’, then he’d be fighting for free,” Malignaggi said.
The boxer believes he got the better of McGregor under boxing rules without having trained all that much for the sparing showdown, and he said he’s absolutely sure how a real boxing match would go.
“That’s how confident I am in what I did when I was out of shape, so I know when I’m in shape, I would absolutely smoke the guy,” Malignaggi said.
While he knows no boxing commission would agree to the “winner takes all” format he suggested, he does believe there are ways around that. Indeed, Malignaggi suggested the loser could take a small purse for the fight with the winner getting the rest of the loot.
“It’s very simple to do…,” Malignaggi said.
While Malignaggi has been out of competition and his feud with McGregor is a few years old now, the fighter still believes a fight between the two stars would generate tons of interest and money due to the long and storied history of their beef and the interesting “winner takes all” format.
READ NEXT: Dana White Offered Celebrity Boxing Match
YouTube: Real Talk with Kelsey and Rachel