UFC superstar Conor McGregor is planning to spar with former two division world champion Paulie Malignaggi ahead of the cross-sport showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The fight between Mayweather and McGregor takes place on August 26th, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Mayweather, 40-years-old, is snapping a near two-year retirement after walking away from the sport in September 2015.
Malignaggi, known as "Magic Man", holds a career record of 36-8 with seven knockouts and last held the WBA welterweight title from April 2012 to June 2013. He retired from boxing earlier this year after suffering a knockout loss to Sam Eggington in the UK.
Last week, McGregor's camp had promised to secure several sparring partners that fans would very familiar with.
Interestingly, Malignaggi once called this fight "a joke" and said he would “knock the beard off” McGregor if they ever fought each other last year.
McGregor, who has no professional boxing experience, is facing Mayweather in a boxing match, with 10-ounce gloves at the junior middleweight limit of 154-pounds.
Speaking on his "From Brooklyn to the World" podcast, Malignaggi said: "I did get called to go into camp with Conor McGregor. I was surprised. I haven't really been training, I haven't been in the gym. So I've started working out a little bit. I'm working out the details to spar with McGregor. … "There's a lot of curiosity I have. I know he's an ultra-electric competitor and I've seen him fight in UFC, obviously, and I think he's very talented. I'm curious to see just the kind of progress he's made."
"I did call him out and I think that shows the character of the man. He could have said, 'Screw that kid, he called me out. I'm not going to put him in my training camp'. I think it shows the competitive spirit and the willingness to want to learn on the part of McGregor. It shows you how hungry he is, because he put that pride aside and it's not easy to put pride aside, especially when you're a fighter. It makes me respect him a little more."