Paulie Malignaggi issues fresh challenge to Conor McGregor as Irishman eyes return


Conor McGregor’s spat with Paulie Malignaggi has now lasted for over two years, and is seemingly one of the most pointless in sport.

The pair’s disagreement stems from Malignaggi serving as the Irishman’s sparring partner in the lead up to his defeat to Floyd Mayweather in August 2017.

A two-time world champion, the American was nearing the end of his professional career when he participated in the sessions with McGregor, and a seeming mismatch between the fighters was confirmed when the 31-year-old released photos of the sparring sessions.

The images showed the Notorious in domineering light, and sparked an angry response from Malignaggi.

The 38-year-old has since been an outspoken critic of McGregor, and continually vowed to return from retirement to face off against him.

Despite a points defeat to the Irishman’s training partner Artem Lobov back in June, the Magic Man has once again called for a bare-knuckled bout, his combat form of choice.

"He's a massive flop in general, he's a better salesman than he is a fighter. Has he ever defended a title in the UFC?", said Malignaggi, speaking to talkSPORT, as per Daily Mail.

"What has he done. He's shot at 31 years old. At 31 years old I won my second world championship."

Malignaggi then continued, and laid out his challenge to the Irishman.

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"The thing that bothers Conor about me more than anything is the fact I pulled his card before everybody else realised it.

"The whole having no guts and being a quitter. Nobody knew that and in the past few years all he's done is prove me right. I think he knew subliminally that I was always right about him and I think he didn't like it.

"I'd fight him winner takes all, I've said that for years. Whoever loses doesn't get a penny, I'd be all for that. In the Octagon he beats me, come on. We can do it bare-knuckle, we can do it boxing."

The timing for a clash may be ideal, with McGregor looking to return to the ring after a year-long absence following defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov last October.

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Although Dana White has revealed has ambitions to add McGregor to the UFC 245 card in Las Vegas on December 14, the Irishman appears to be set for a Dublin-based fight that night, after listing the date and location in a recent cryptic tweet.

A retired and likely subordinate Malignaggi may provide the ideal opportunity for McGregor’s return, after a damaging defeat to the Eagle last October.

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