Conor McGregor’s two-fight plan to secure Manny Pacquiao boxing bout

Conor McGregor is still planning on fighting Manny Pacquiao in a massive boxing crossover fight – but he wants to reclaim the UFC lightweight title first.

The former two-weight world champion was planning a big-money matchup with the legendary boxer before the coronavirus pandemic stifled plans for the event.

And between McGregor's loss to Dustin Poirier – in what he allegedly believed to be a 'warm-up fight' – and legal issues between his management and Pacquiao, the bout appears to be on the back-burner.

But the Irishman has a plan to bring the fight back from the brink which involves beating Dustin Poirier and then winning the title from newly-crowned champion Charles Oliveira within the year.

"He wants that belt now to recapture it again," said McGregor's long-time friend and training partner Artem Lobov in an interview with BJPenn.com .

"The belt makes the Manny Pacquiao fight bigger."

Lobov did admit that the Irishman allowed the prospect of a fight with eight-division world champion to cloud his preparation for his rematch with Poirier, but says he won't make the same mistake again.

"Absolutely," Lobov responded when asked if McGregor had viewed the fight as a tune-up for Pacquiao.

"To be honest, it wasn’t like he wasn’t fully focused or anything, he just didn’t give Dustin the respect he deserved.

"He was more thinking about boxing Manny after the fight and was getting ready for that as Conor saw that as the challenge and Dustin was just going to be a warmup fight.

"Obviously, it didn’t work out that way – Dustin did his homework and improved a lot.

"To be honest with you, if you look at the second fight, it was developing how the first fight went, that is what I expected.

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"The only things that made a difference were the leg kicks, it wasn’t like he wasn’t training to defend leg kicks, but those kicks are very unique.

"When you spar in training and you wear shin pads you don’t feel those kicks and you lift your leg to check, but in the fight, that doesn’t work anymore."

McGregor was a relatively strong favourite against Poirier, but the American defied the odds with a second-round TKO win, marking the first time McGregor was stopped by strikes in his MMA career.

Poirier v McGregor 3 will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on July 10, and will be the first fight in Vegas with a capacity crowd since March 2020.

The pair appeared to be friendly ahead of their UFC 257 bout earlier this year, with both men sharing gifts at the weigh-ins and McGregor pledging to donate $500,000 to Poirier's charity 'The Good Fight Foundation'.

But their relationship has deteriorated in recent months, and it is expected that McGregor will return to his notorious trash-talking ways when they finally go face-to-face again during fight week's media events.

The undercard has been ravaged by fight cancellations, but it is still projected to be a massive pay-per-view spectacle.

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