Recently a narrative has been gaining steam that Conor McGregor and the UFC are positioning for the latter to fight for the lightweight belt in his return. Not long ago, Dana White discussed McGregor’s future while speaking with BT Sports, so what can be drawn from those comments?
Earlier this year, the consensus seemed to be that McGregor will need to return to the win column first, before he receives a rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov (provided the latter’s holding the belt). McGregor campaigned for a rematch immediately after his loss to Khabib last October. But, he also said he was open to taking another fight. Then, earlier this year McGregor expressed an interest in facing Donald Cerrone, but that fight never materialized.
More recently, however, McGregor has been talking again about rematching Nurmagomedov and claiming that a second fight would go differently. Further, because White has not declared that Tony Ferguson will for sure, fight the winner of Nurmagomedov – Dustin Poirier, speculation’s spiked that the UFC is still hoping to book Nurmagomedov – McGregor 2.
Well, during his aforementioned interview with BT Sports, White was asked whether McGregor turned down a fight with Justin Gaethje, as claimed by the latter’s manager, Ali Abdez-Aziz. White said this (quote via MMA Fighting):
“No, Conor hasn’t turned down anything,” White said. “Listen, Ali can say whatever, Conor doesn’t turn down fights, period.
“Conor has been one of the most stand up [guys], when things get crazy and most people pull out of fights, Conor McGregor stays in. McGregor isn’t afraid to fight anyone so that is absolutely false.”
When asked if he believes the superstar will fight before the year is up, the UFC President said this:
Conor’s in a position where he’s sitting back right now, I think waiting to see how this whole thing plays out with all these guys but he should pop up soon,” White said. “Yeah, I think we’ll see him this year.”
So, what could someone infer from this? Well, historically, when White has had a fight in mind for someone, he’s often talked about it with the media. For example, earlier this year White said he was on board with a Cerrone – McGregor fight. So, the fact White didn’t say he’d like to see McGregor fight Gaethje or say, Ferguson, is kind of interesting.
That, coupled with White’s comments about McGregor waiting to see how everything “plays out”, certainly points to the former champ wanting to fight for the belt again. Khabib has repeatedly said McGregor doesn’t deserve a rematch, but what if Poirier pulls off the upset at UFC 242? McGregor holds a win over “The Diamond”, and you know the UFC will likely use that to justify giving him a title shot ahead of Ferguson. If Conor were to beat Poirier a second time, then boom, you have McGregor – Nurmagomedov 2.
Of course, most folks believe that Khabib will remain the champ after UFC 242 is done. If that’s the case, then McGregor’s chances of locking up a title fight will drop considerably. But, until September 7th comes and goes, don’t expect McGregor to be booked for anything.
"Conor has not turned down ANY fights."
"When things get crazy and most people pull out of fights @TheNotoriousMMA stays in."
Dana White reveals that he expects McGregor to return to the octagon this year pic.twitter.com/1c2ECRbxib
— Watch UFC 239 live on BT Sport Box Office (@btsportufc) June 12, 2019