AVNI YILDIRIM has called Conor McGregor ‘arrogant and ignorant’ for believing he could beat Manny Pacquiao.
McGregor revealed before his UFC return against Dustin Poirier that he was in talks to fight Pacquiao.
But after the Irishman was stopped in the octagon for the first time, his return to the boxing ring was all-but KO’d.
Turk Yildirim – who faces Canelo Alvarez on February 27 – is happy to see the two rivalling superstars left alone in their own sport.
He told SunSport: “Should basketball teams start playing football? Would you watch a baseball team playing hockey?
“It‘s two different sports. If somebody wants to turn from one sport to the other that‘s fine. But it‘s surely not easy to do.
“We are professionals at what we do. We have done it for years – training, fighting – to get to the level where we are.
“To believe that you can just enter a sport and beat somebody who has done it his whole life is arrogant and ignorant to say the least.”
McGregor, 32, made his boxing debut in 2017, losing to Floyd Mayweather, 43, in ten rounds.
But he fancied another lucrative payday and crack at boxing royalty as he pursued Filipino icon Pacquiao, 42.
Yildirim, 29, was not convinced, however, and urged McGregor to instead focus his efforts in the UFC, giving him no hope of upsetting PacMan.
He said: “I think McGregor has been a big star at UFC but I don‘t see him as a boxer.
“He clearly lost to Mayweather and I don‘t understand why he should have the desire to lose to Pacquiao.
“If they want to fight, let them fight. No problem. Would I watch it? I don‘t think so.”
As McGregor builds a rivalry with boxing’s legends of the past, Yildirim is going after the sport’s current kingpin.
He challenges super-middleweight and pound-for-pound superstar Canelo for the WBC, WBA and Ring Magazine belts in Florida.
Yildirim is the Mexican’s mandatory challenger and comes into the fight with a 21-2 record.
Canelo, 30, will defend his throne having beaten Callum Smith in December, but right after was given 90 days to defend his WBC title.
Having agreed terms with Yildirim, Alvarez does so with future unification bouts already on his mind.
So much so that he penned a two-fight deal with promoter Eddie Hearn, with the view of facing WBO champ Billy Joe Saunders later this year.
Despite the four-weight champion planning ahead, Yildirim refuses to feel overlooked – but warned that Canelo is in the dark about what he is getting himself into.
He said: “I don‘t care what Canelo says, thinks or plans. I focus on myself and what I need to do to show my best possible performance.
“I can only speak for myself and tell you that I am not thinking past Canelo. First things first.
“Yes, it was a long journey. But I am not looking back, I am focusing what‘s ahead of me.
“I am looking forward to the fight and I will make sure that I will be in the best possible shape.
“I don‘t want to compare myself to anybody else. But as far as I know Canelo has never faced a true Turkish warrior.”