Conor McGregor creates his own path. The biggest dig against McGregor is that he’s never defended a title, but it’s simply because he’s not forced to. Back in the day when Georges St-Pierre was knocking off contender after contender, the UFC and MMA as a whole was different. St-Pierre may have had the opportunity to change the game by fighting Anderson Silva, but it never happened.
As soon as McGregor got one title against the #1 pound-for-pound in Jose Aldo, he never looked back and used it for leverage to only compete in the biggest fights possible. Unlike GSP in his prime, McGregor is just a fighter with different goals that may not align with your ideal version of a champion. However, there is good news to the purists who want him to defend a title, but it may not happen the way you think.
“I’m the 155 pound champion. I faced him at 170, he beat me, then I rematched him at 170, I beat him. Now I’m the 155 pound world champion, now if he wants that fight, he must come down — that’s a fair trade. I didn’t ask for the rematch at a lower weight, I asked for the rematch at the exact same weight. I thought that was a fair play move on my behalf and I came in and I won. So, now I won that and I won the 155 title after that, so if he wants the fight he has to make that 155 pound limit.” — Conor McGregor to BBC News.
The winner between Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee might not be happy about Conor McGregor’s decision, but he would be defending the UFC lightweight title against Nate Diaz. Will this change the attitude of the fans toward McGregor, or will he get scolded for not picking one of the division’s top contenders? Who knows how all this will play out, but if he beats Diaz, then the winners of Ferguson/Lee and Justin Gaethje/Eddie Alvarez could be fighting each other to see who gets a crack at McGregor’s belt next. Or, you know, McGregor could go back to boxing or aim for a UFC superfight with someone like Georges St-Pierre. One thing is for sure, these next few months are going to be interesting.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 8/30/2017.