UFC president Dana White revealed tons of tidbits about his company’s big plans this week during an interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, but one of the most interesting pieces of information was his reasoning behind wanting to limit UFC superstar Conor McGregor’s appearances inside a boxing ring during 2021.
“You are the absolute best in the world right now at MMA, and the timing is right now. [You’re] not getting any younger, I’d love to see him go for it here over the next year,” White said.
Previously, McGregor had indicated he planned on facing boxing champion Manny Pacquiao in a superfight boxing match sometime in 2021.
McGregor did the same thing against Floyd Maywather Jr. back in 2017, but White believes circumstances around that promotion were unique.
“That was the perfect storm. It all sort of came together perfectly with Floyd. It was fun,” White said.
So McGregor has his plans, but White doesn’t expect to be part of any more big crossover boxing matches, at least in 2021.
“It’s sort of a one-and-done for me,” White said.
ALL the latest UFC news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on UFC newsletter here!
White Wants McGregor Focused on UFC Action
Minimally, White hopes McGregor focuses on his UFC career over the next 12 months.
“If he wants to fight one of these boxing guys, do that next year. That fight is always going to be there,” White said.
Whether against Pacquiao or some other boxing superstar, White believes McGregor will always have those types of opportunities waiting for him in the boxing world.
“A boxing match with any of these guys, that kind of stuff is always going to be there,” White said.
The UFC boss didn’t specifically mention it, but that would seem to include the proposed fight against YouTuber Jake Paul, too.
Regardless, White laid out his vision for McGregor’s future in 2021, and none of it included boxing matches.
“In a perfect world, for Conor to fight [in the UFC] two or three times, and one of them to be a title fight would be awesome,” White said.
Follow the Heavy on UFC Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
UFC Boss Hyped To See What McGregor Does Next
While White and his company stand to benefit financially from an active McGregor during 2021, there also seemed to be at least a little part of the UFC boss that was genuinely excited over the idea of seeing what McGregor might do over the next 12 months.
“The way that this kid is right now, mentally, physically, emotionally, I mean this kid is on and ready to fight,” White said.
So White wants McGregor to ditch his boxing plans and focus only on being the world’s most popular MMA star.
“I would love to see him focus on what he can do in the UFC, White said.
“Whether it’s to take another shot at that title against Khabib [Nurmagomedov], or fight for the title against somebody else…” White said.
White is excited to plan McGregor’s future inside the Octagon, and the UFC boss even suggested this “motivated” version of the 32-year-old Irish star was the best fighter in MMA right now.
That’s huge praise, but McGregor has the chance to start proving the veracity of that statement against Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 on January 23.
YouTube: Real Talk with Kelsey and Rachel