Conor McGregor news: Irishman is 'one of the most underrated fighters in the sport'

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ESPN journalist Ariel Helwani believes Conor McGregor is one of the most underrated fighters in the history of UFC.

The Irishman returns to action at UFC 257 this weekend when he takes on Dustin Poirier. The fight will be McGregor’s first since January 2020, when he defeated Donald Cerrone, in a career that has been disrupted by several retirement announcements and controversies in recent years.

His defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov back in 2018 seems to be the root of all the problems, with plenty of controversies following afterwards, and McGregor was handed a six-month ban from the sport for his part in a post-fight scuffle.

He has also been involved in several legal incidents and has quit the sport on three occasions.

However, ‘Notorious’ does have 22 professional wins in the sport and in 2016 became the first fighter ever to hold titles in two weight divisions concurrently.

And ahead of the Poirier fight, UFC president Dana White says he has seen the ‘real’ McGregor in recent months.

Helwani is of the opinion that, despite the controversies away from the Octagon, McGregor’s fighting skills rank him up there with the very best.

Speaking to ESPN MMA, he explained: “If you strip away everything, just talking about the fighter. I’m not talking about the layoffs, I’m not talking about the controversy, I’m not talking about the fame. Just the fighter.

“Listen to me now, I think that Conor McGregor is one of the most underrated fighters in the history of the sport. He does not get the credit he deserves for how good he is.

“As a fighter, not the hoopla. I’m just on about his skills, his pure skills.”

McGregor’s UFC talents have enabled him to enter the boxing arena, with the Irishman having been defeated by Floyd Mayweather in an exhibition match back in 2017.

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It has also been revealed that Manny Pacquiao is interested in arranging a fight with ‘Notorious’.

McGregor’s manager Audie Attar confirmed that his client is open to facing off against the eight-division boxing champion, and has already held preliminary conversations over the bout.

Speaking to Bloomberg, he explained: “He wants to fight Manny. Manny’s come out and said he wants to fight Conor. As I’ve stated publicly before, we’ve had conversations.

“This is a fight that we’re definitely going to make because both fighters want it, and there seems to be interest from the fans all around the world.”

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