DUSTIN POIRIER believes Conor McGregor still wants to face Manny Pacquiao and could use their rematch to prepare for the fight.
McGregor, 32, last month announced he would be boxing Pacquiao, only to then accept an offer to fight Poirier in the UFC.
The UFC want the Irishman to return to the octagon on January 23, but Notorious is adamant he will fight before the year’s end.
That leaves his proposed mega-fight with Filipino Pacquiao, 41, up in the air.
But left-hander Poirier, 31, reckons McGregor wants to fight another southpaw before starting the year with a boxing match against PacMan.
He told THE FIGHT with Teddy Atlas: “He’s angling to fight Pacquiao right? That was in the news.
“I don’t know if the UFC wants him to fight one more time before they allow him to fight Pacquiao or if he just wants to get one more in this year before starting next year with the Pacquiao fight.
“But what better way to do it against another southpaw.
“I think that might be part of his mindset, maybe he wants to fight a southpaw before he fights another southpaw.
“I don’t know what’s going on but I just feel like that’s what the alignment is.”
McGregor last fought in January, knocking out 37-year-old Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds.
But his plan for a three-fight ‘season’ was dashed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The lack of activity led to McGregor announcing his retirement and later spending the summer holidaying in France and Italy, where he continued to train.
He does now appear close to confirming his return with the possibility of securing a second fight this year.
And Pacquiao has kept his hopes of facing the former UFC champion alive after agreeing a new deal with management company Paradigm, who also work with McGregor.