You may have recently read that Conor McGregor was itching to fight actor Mark Wahlberg on the same card as Justin Bieber vs. Tom Cruise, which has since been cancelled. The absurdity of that previous sentence aside, McGregor’s Wahlberg call-out did produce a call-out from an actual fighter.
Regis Prograis (24-0, 20 KOs) is one of the most promising talents in all of boxing right now, having just advanced to the World Boxing Super Series 140 lbs final with a comprehensive TKO win over Kiryl Relikh. He’s also co-managed by Wahlberg and fellow Hollywood star Peter Berg, so Prograis took offense to McGregor wanting to fight the man behind “Good Vibrations.”
“So look, I’m hearing that Conor McGregor is trying to fight my manager Mark Wahlberg,” Prograis said. “Look here, don’t call on no actors, dawg. Call out a real fighter. We’ll do a two-fight deal. I’ll fight you in the ring first, I’m definitely gonna whoop your ass. Then I’m going to fight you in the Octagon and whoop your ass in there. Don’t call out actors dawg, call out a real world champion. I’mma hurt your ass.”
Now you may brush this off as crazy talk to get attention — let’s face it, we’re giving Prograis attention right now by writing this up — but he is a genuine MMA fan who has trained in other martial arts as a youth (including wrestling and karate) and actively trains Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
If you want to take it a step further, Prograis’ wife is Brazilian and Regis is actually a fluent Portuguese speaker. He recently met up with former UFC champion and McGregor rival Jose Aldo at a Shooto Brazil event.
With one of the best fighters to ever step in the octagon @josealdojunior #boxing #mma #champs #fighters #brazil pic.twitter.com/3KUHWtbkvq— Rougarou (@RPrograis) August 6, 2018
So let your imagination run wild if you feel like it, because Prograis may genuinely be one of the few high-level men’s boxers with legitimate interest in dabbling in MMA.
As far as what we know he’s conclusively really damn good at, Prograis’ victory over Relikh back in April earned the Louisiana native his first major world title (taking Relikh’s WBA belt). He’s set to meet IBF champion Josh Taylor (15-0, 12 KOs) later this year for what should be a tremendous, lucrative unification bout between two of the best 140 lbs boxers in the world.
McGregor is 0-1 as a boxer, losing to Floyd Mayweather two years ago, but he has amassed a 21-4 MMA record and won the UFC’s featherweight and lightweight titles in his meteoric rise as one of the biggest draws in combat sports history. He has not fought since losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229, and while he says he’s retired, that appears to be a load of nonsense, but he doesn’t have his next fight booked.