CONOR McGREGOR has ‘followed’ Jake Paul’s boxing manager on Instagram – fueling speculation about a mega money grudge match.
Paul has long called the UFC legend his dream opponent and once claimed to have a $50 million bid for McGregor.
The Irishman still chose to largely ignore the callouts, barely acknowledging the YouTuber turned 5-0 prize fighter.
But now, eagle-eyed social media fans have noticed that McGregor has recently been following Paul’s manager and adviser Nakisa Bidarian.
In addition, Bidarian was the Chief Financial Officer of the UFC until 2016 and sat in the front row for The Notorious’s meteoric rise to superstardom.
But since leaving the UFC, he has helped build Paul as a pay-per-view boxing attraction.
And despite McGregor choosing not to hang out with the American, Paul has insisted that there have been behind-the-scenes talks about a lucrative boxing fight.
He told Graham Bensinger last year: “His [McGregor’s] manager is good friends with my manager and another one of my advisors and they talk about it constantly to make it possible.
“They say, ‘Yeah, we’re down, we’re over it’.”
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Despite Paul’s claim, UFC fighters are prohibited from competing outside of MMA promotion unless they are given special permission.
McGregor got the chance to take on Floyd Mayweather, 44, in a boxing crossover in 2017.
But UFC president Dana White has argued with Paul for the past year, leaving the polarizing celebrity questioning whether he would bend the rules again.
He said, “I think Dana White is hurdle #1.
“If Dana were ever going to let Conor out of his contract to set up the boxing match, I think that’s what it takes to make it happen.”
Paul has previously knocked out two of White’s previous fighters, Ben Askren, 37, and then Tyron Woodley, 39.
It added to KOs via YouTuber “AnEsonGib,” ex-NBA player Nate Robinson, 37.
Paul initially defeated Woodley on points in August and signed on to fight Tommy Fury, 22, in December.
But Fury withdrew with a bacterial chest infection and broken rib, forcing Woodley to fill in in two weeks but lost in round six.
Still no opponent with professional boxing experience, Paul later called out UFC pairing Jorge Masvidal, 37, and Nate Diaz, 36.
But in an interview on former boxing trainer Teddy Atlas’ podcast, White quickly shot down the idea.
White said: “You can see how he wants to fight against everyone who is not in his weight class, guys who are older and all these bulls***.
“Go fight a boxer. Go pound someone else’s leg, motherfucker.”