Is The UFC Looking to Protect Conor McGregor?

Conor McGregor

As the MMA world waits to see when and who Conor McGregor will fight next, the argument’s been made the UFC would be wise to give the superstar a favorable match-up. But, is the UFC and Dana White thinking along those lines? It looks like Jorge Masvidal’s manager might think so.

Following Masvidal’s historically fast, knockout of Ben Askren, the welterweight could be in the pole position for a title shot. Masvidal wants to get a crack at the belt, but, if the winner of Colby Covington – Robbie Lawler gets that opportunity, “Gamebred’s” let it be known he’d like to battle McGregor.

Well, due to the aggressive styles and abilities of both McGregor and Masvidal, the latter’s suggestion was welcomed by many fans. The fact both fighters have reputations for tossing out verbal zingers, didn’t hurt either.

But, when UFC President Dana White was recently asked about the proposed match-up, he shot it down. According to White, Masvidal is “too big” for Conor, and he also argued the former featherweight and lightweight champ doesn’t belong at welterweight.

Masvidal’s manager Abe Kawa, recently had this to say, while discussing White’s view on a Masvidal – McGregor match-up (quotes via MMA Junkie):

“God bless Dana, he’s protecting Conor,” Kawa said. “He wants to make sure Conor doesn’t get his ass whooped. And that’s fine.”

Now, sure, since White openly stated that McGregor shouldn’t be fighting at welterweight. So, in one sense, it’s an open admission of him trying to protect the star. Even after McGregor faced Diaz, two times at 170, White argued that McGregor should return to lightweight. White’s made similar comments about other fighters and what weight they should be fighting at, who don’t have the massive profile McGregor does.

But, even more broadly, is the UFC hoping to have McGregor fight someone who he’s pretty certain to beat? It’s possible, and from a promotional perspective, it would be a smart move. After all, McGregor hasn’t won a fight now since 2016, and he’s coming off a pretty decisive loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov. Prior to that he was stopped by boxing megastar, Floyd Mayweather Jr.

In a world where casual fans are still needed to deliver blockbuster fights, another clear cut defeat for McGregor could reduce his drawing power. Yes, even if his loss to Mayweather Jr. was in a boxing match. So, what would be best for McGregor and the UFC, is if he scores a memorable win next time out.

The big question is, however, is McGregor interested in taking a bout that could be labelled as a true warmup fight? Is there a match-up like that, however, at this stage of McGregor’s career, which has a realistic chance of getting finalized? It’s seems kind of unlikely.