Conor McGregor says talks to fight Manny Pacquiao in 2021 boxing contest are 'intensifying'

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Conor McGregor is confident he will return to the boxing ring this year against eight-weight world champion and certain hall-of-famer Manny Pacquiao.

McGregor competed against the 50-0 Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August 2017 and landed more shots in the early rounds than most tenured pugilists have against the elusive unbeaten great, only to be picked apart soon after as he ran out of steam and was stopped in Round 10.

Upon returning to the Octagon, the Irishman was defeated via submission by Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018 and wiped out Donald Cerrone in just 40 seconds in January 2020. He returns for his second fight against Dustin Poirier on Jan. 23 on Fight Island.

However once his business with Poirier is settled, McGregor fully expects his next outing to be back in the world of boxing.

"I know the talks are intensifying for this year," he told The Mac Life.

"So I am excited for a Manny Pacquiao bout, and it's looking like it will take place this year. What time this year, I'm not sure.

"We're going to have to have some good discussions with Dana and with the guys and the UFC after [the Poirier fight] and see where it goes, what's there, what do we want. I am open to it all. I am ready for it all."

Pacquiao is expected to compete once or twice in 2021 before hanging up the gloves for good from 2022 to focus on his political career in his native Philippines.

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