In an interview with Submission Radio, UFC Hall of Famer and former UFC heavyweight champion Bas Rutten discussed the possibility of Conor McGregor participating in another boxing bout, this time against Manny Pacquiao.
UFC legend Conor McGregor will return to the Octagon in January next year for a rematch against UFC lightweight Dustin Poirier. But people are already thinking about what will come next for 'The Notorious'.
After fighting American Boxing Hall of Famer Floyd Mayweather, on an exhibition fight back in 2017, McGregor is now being linked to a possible challenge against another all-time-great, Manny Pacquiao.
Rutten, now a commentator, gave his take on what would happen if McGregor was to fight 'Pacman' Pacquiao and how that would differ from when he met 'Money' Mayweather in the ring.
"Pacquiao is a different kind of guy than Mayweather," Rutten started. "I mean, he is a very explosive guy, so he is going to be a tougher fight [for McGregor] than Mayweather, that's what I think."
Rutten sees Pacquiao as having a completely different boxing style than Mayweather. He thinks McGregor would feel this difference when fighting a professional boxer who is much more offensive.
"The movement of Pacquiao, that in and out movement, that hyper super explosive power, is going to be much more difficult to deal with than it was with Mayweather, who starts slowly and reads his opponent," Rutten said. "Mayweather lets himself get punched, but then figures out where his opponent is and slowly goes in for the kill, [he is] very methodical. Pacquiao doesn't have that; everything he hits is hard. So if he can impose his style, it could be it."
Bas Rutten thinks Manny Pacquiao speed could be a problem for Conor McGregor
Although McGregor became a champion for the first time in a fight that lasted less than 13 seconds when he fought Jose Aldo, an opponent who also had an explosive, fast-paced fighting style, Rutten doesn't believe the same thing could happen against Pacquiao.
"Manny [Pacquiao] is not going to be like Jose Aldo walking in a daddy-gonna-get-it behavior, because he has been doing this boxing thing for a long time. He is going to be in and out, in and out and really, really fast," examined Rutten. "And McGregor knows that, trust me. They can all say, 'I don't think McGregor's boxing is good.' Well, he went eight rounds with arguably one of the best boxers on the planet, right? For a guy who had never had a professional boxing match to do that, I was super impressed."
Talking about the dangers McGregor could offer Pacquiao in the hypothetical fight, Rutten focused on McGregor's counter-speed power and his above-average resistance and stamina for an MMA fighter, of course, when compared to a pugilist.
"Conor is going to hit him. What do you think? That mixed martial artists cannot box? That's the dumbest thing ever. Yeah, it's a different distance, and I know you are better with boxing, but don't believe that we can't knock you out or that we can't touch you. Of course we can," Rutten said. "Pacquiao knows that. So, he will be in and out with hyper movements; Manny fought the best guys on the planet. Needless to say, Pacquiao does have to watch out for that counter speed that Conor has because that's his biggest weapon. He moves just out of range, and then he comes back, and he is so accurate. If he lands it, that could be trouble for Pacquiao," he completed.
UFC 257 will take place on 23 January 2021 in Abu Dhabi on Yas Island. While McGregor vs Poirier is a guaranteed presence, it is still unknown if fans will be able to attend the spectacle.