Two-time World Champion Paulie Malignaggi has signed a two-year contract with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, setting up a potentially mouthwatering fight with Conor McGregor stablemate Artem Lobov.
38-year old Malignaggi retired from boxing in 2017, finishing with a pro record of 36-8. The American expressed his excitement at joining the organisation:
BKFC is the new wave in combat sports. They're doing great things, and I'm very excited to be a part of this organization.
I've accomplished some big things in my boxing career, and I look forward to what this next phase brings. After a long boxing career, it's easy to miss the limelight and the rush that combat brings. I look forward to getting back in action and the new challenge of fighting for BKFC.
Malignaggi of course hit headlines in this part of the world in the buildup to Conor McGregor's mega fight with Floyd Mayweather, when he served as a sparring partner for the Dubliner. Footage emerged of McGregor flooring the former world champion, something he was very unhappy with.
He claimed that the footage did not accurately reflect the sparring session as a whole, and felt he had been stitched up by McGregor and his camp. The pair even had a confrontation in Las Vegas the week of the Mayweather bout.
Conor McGregor and Paulie Malignaggi get into a heated confrontation outside T-Mobile Arena. #MayweatherMcGregor https://t.co/2dPR0sPpSj pic.twitter.com/oQD0jaf0BY
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) August 22, 2017
That has led to a long-running feud between the pair, and that is only likely to intensify in the coming months. Artem Lobov, fellow SBG fighter and long-time friend of Conor McGregor, also recently signed with BKFC, and is set to make his debut next month.
Should he win that one, a bout with Malignaggi will almost certainly be on the cards.
Sources have told me Paulie Malignaggi is about to sign with @bareknucklefc and is expected to fight Artem Lobov if he wins his fight April 6. @PaulMalignaggi @RusHammerMMA
— Helen Yee (@HelenYeeSports) March 7, 2019
If Artem Lobov wins his BKFC debut on 4/20, the plan is for him to fight Malignaggi on June 20, according to sources. Plan first reported by @HelenYeeSports. https://t.co/NepLOYSdEw
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) March 7, 2019
That will be a massive fight, and you can expect plenty of publicity considering the New Jersey fighter's opinion of Conor McGregor and those around him. We're looking forward to it already...