Conor McGregor announces return to ring with bout against Manny Pacquiao next year

Former UFC champion Conor McGregor and boxing legend Manny Pacquiao are expected to face off in the ring next year, with a bout tipped to take place in the Middle East.

Former UFC champion Conor McGregor (left) and boxer Manny Pacquiao (right) Source: Photosport

Despite announcing his second retirement earlier this year, McGregor took to twitter to announce a bout with the 41-year-old Pacquiao. 

Following a string of tweets suggesting a return to fighting, McGregor finally said "I'm boxing Manny Pacquiao next in the Middle East." 

Despite earning his fame and noteriety in the octagon, McGregor has displayed his boxing chops in a highly publicised bout with Pacquiao's bitter rival, Floyd Mayweather, in 2017. 

McGregor went on to take a shot at both Pacquiao and Mayweather saying "It will be a true honour to have faced two of the greatest boxers of the modern era, afraid of a fight."

Pacquiao, now a Senator in his native Philippines, last fought in 2019 when he won the WBA Super Welterweight title with a victory over American Keith Thurmann.

Responding to McGregor's tweets, the office of Pacquiao confirmed the bout with the Irish mixed martial artist.

In a statement, Pacquiao's aide Jayke Joson said the boxer-turned-politician will be donating the majority of his fight purse to coronavirus victims in the Philippines. 

"For the sake of all the Filipino Covid-19 victims, Senator Manny Pacquiao will be fighting UFC superstar Conor McGregor next year," Joson said. "The huge portion of his earnings will proceed to those who are affected nationwide by the pandemic."

It is still unknown what weight division the fight will take place in.