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Conor McGregor wanted to fight Paulie Malignaggi under MMA rules

UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor (C) of Ireland has words with former sparring partner Paulie Malignaggi (L) after his arrival at Toshiba Plaza in Las Vegas, Nevada U.S. on August 22, 2017. (Reuters) 

The ship may have sailed on public interest in a fight between Conor McGregor and Paulie Malignaggi, but there was a time when McGregor was seriously entertaining a throw down with his former sparring partner. Only, it wouldn’t have been in a boxing ring.

Conor McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, revealed to Mike Sheridan at the launch of the Original Penguin AW17 collection in Dublin that the Irishman was fed up with Malignaggi and wanted a piece of him on his terms.

“He said to me, ‘Let’s get him in the Octagon’, and I said that there was no way that he would fight in MMA. You’ve got to be able to prove yourself in the arena,” Kavanagh said. “When Conor wanted a boxing license they could look at the Diaz 2 fight where there was more or less 25 minutes of boxing. Why would Paulie go to MMA? He’d never go to MMA.”

McGregor and Malignaggi’s very public feud nearly overshadowed the UFC lightweight champion’s boxing match with Floyd Mayweather last month. After Malignaggi took exception to images released online, the former boxing champion quit being McGregor’s sparring partner and a war of words ensued. Things nearly bubbled over during Mayweather-McGregor fight week when the two engaged in an argument during the grand arrivals.

Kavanagh explained that it was Malignaggi who initially stirred the pot after the first sparring session.

“It wasn’t just general stuff explaining how he was part of the camp. He had to go back to New York to do some promotion for the Andre Ward fight, and straightaway he was disrespecting [McGregor’s] power,” Kavanagh said.

“He was saying this and that, and I was thinking, ‘What are you doing, you have to come back here and spar Conor in seven days?’” he continued. “This guy is a former world champion, he should know that you should keep your mouth shut until the fight is over – then write a book, then do 50 interviews.”

With McGregor unsuccessful in his boxing debut, he’s likely turned all of his attention back to the UFC. However, the bad blood between the two likely still remains and there’s always a possibility that McGregor could shift his attention back to a fight with Malignaggi at some point. However, a fight between the two is unlikely to ever take place in the UFC.