Regis Prograis ‘probably would have did MMA’ over boxing if sport was bigger when he was coming up

As Regis Prograis prepares for what could be the biggest boxing match of his career on Saturday, a different path could have led him to MMA instead.

The reigning WBC light welterweight champion, who faces Devin Haney in his next fight, revealed that he actually loves MMA and keeps a photo of ex-UFC two-division champion Conor McGregor up on the wall in his gym. Not only that, but Prograis actually cross-trains in MMA in his spare time, and there’s an alternate universe where he could have chosen that sport if there were more opportunities available when he was looking towards the future.

“Honestly, I’m not going to lie to you, if MMA was big when I was coming up, I probably would have did MMA,” Prograis said on The MMA Hour. “Because I like that type of stuff.

“My wife is Brazilian so I spent a lot of time in Brazil. When I’m out there, I do a lot of grappling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu and stuff like that. So I actually do like that sport a lot, but I just so happen to be a boxer. I like the sport.”

It turns out, Prograis wasn’t just training at random MMA gyms when traveling to Brazil, but rather one of the top facilities in the country.

“I trained with Pedro Rizzo,” Prograis said. “I trained with Jose Aldo when I was in Brazil. All those guys out there, they showed me a lot of love so I do like MMA.”

According to Prograis, he first crossed paths with Aldo just after arguably the most devastating moment of his career, so that likely prevented them from getting together for a sparring session, but he’s always open to collaborating with the Brazilian again in the future.

“When I first met him, he was coming off that loss to Conor McGregor,” Prograis explained. “So he was kind of iffy but he was still the King of Rio. We hung out a few times. We was actually supposed to spar one day, but it just never happened. He was like partying or something the night before and it never happened.”

As much as he loved MMA, Prograis obviously made a huge career for himself in boxing, where he’s currently ranked as one of the top 140-pound fighters in the world.

Meanwhile, Haney will be testing himself in a larger weight class after he was established as the best of the best at lightweight with a win over Vasyl Lomachenko in May.

Haney sports a perfect 30-0 record in his career, but Prograis believes he’s bitten off a little more than he can chew this time around.

“I know he is bigger,” Prograis said. “He has a bigger frame. He probably was struggling to make 135. I think he did have to come up to 140. I’m still surprised he took this fight. A lot of people was surprised he took this fight. He was getting touched at 135 and I’m one of the biggest punchers at 140, so it’s going to be a big difference.

“At the end of the day, I really feel like I’m going to hurt him, I’m going to smash him, no matter what.”

If all goes well on Saturday, Prograis feels like a win over Haney will finally put him in a position where he can command even bigger fights and more profitable paydays.

Throughout his career, Prograis has often fought for titles and he’s headlined plenty of cards, but there’s still a difference between being a champion and being a superstar.

“I feel like it will catapult me to one of the faces of boxing,” Prograis said. “One of the biggest faces in boxing. Definitely on the pound-for-pound list, top five in pound-for-pound a matter of fact. It will lead me to the bigger fights, bigger fights down the line. The next fight will be something big.”

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