UFC icon Conor McGregor believes ‘a lot of good things are happening’ in the heavyweight division of boxing ahead of Anthony Joshua ’s rematch with Oleksandr Usyk later this year.
Joshua lost his WBA, WBA and IBF world titles to the Ukrainian in London last year. Usyk dethroned the Brit in front of 65,000 fans at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, comfortably outclassing the defending champion.
Elsewhere, Tyson Fury recently defeated British rival Dillian Whyte to retain his WBC title at Wembley Stadium. The Gypsy King originally won the title during his thrillingly epic trilogy with Deontay Wilder, defeating the Bronze Bomber in each of their final two meetings.
While the Irish fighter made his name under the UFC banner, McGregor is an avid follower of boxing. When quizzed about Joshua’s chances in his upcoming rematch with Usyk for the unified WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles, McGregor unsure about whether the Brit could pull it off.
“It’s a tough ask,” McGregor told Sky Sports News at the Monaco Grand Prix. “It didn’t go too well for him last time. I thought when he had that loss to Andy Ruiz he could adjust.
“I wish him well. AJ’s a great guy, Usyk’s a great guy as well. I hope for a good bout for both men, and the heavyweight division is on fire at the minute – a lot of good things happening.”
McGregor acknowledged he will make his return in UFC rather than a boxing ring, but he declared he will box again in his career. The 33-year-old lost to Floyd Mayweather via technical knockout in the 10th round of their blockbuster 2017 clash.
“Boxing is my first love in combat sports and I had such a great time the last time I was out there,” McGregor told Sky Sports at the Monaco Grand Prix. “Obviously my return will be inside the octagon for the UFC and Mixed Martial Arts, that story is far from over – in fact, that story is just beginning – so that’s where I will make my return, but boxing for sure I will grace the squared circle again in the future.”
McGregor also confirmed he is firmly on the way to recovery ahead of his UFC return. The former two-division champion added: “My body is doing good, I’m out here with my full team.
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“Obviously I’m enjoying the Monaco Grand Prix, and then after that we’re going to up the training a little bit by bit. I should be able to kick now – I’ve got a CT scan in the coming days, and then I’ll be cleared to kick.
“Once I can kick and grapple, I’ll be back in in no time. Boxing training is going well and strength training, but I’m excited to get back.”
McGregor has not competed since breaking his leg at the start of a trilogy fight with Dustin Poirier in July 2021 at UFC 264. He lost the fight via technical knockout in round one after the ringside doctor stopped the bout after the Irishman had broken his tibia and was unable to continue.