If Conor McGregor campaigned for a fight against the winner of Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre, then he’d probably get it. You’re talking about a fighter who pick whoever he wants out of thin air and fight then. All of this taken into consideration, it’s easy to understand why it’s so hard to figure out his next move. Meanwhile, Tony Ferguson has an interim belt he says might as well be the real thing, something Dan Hardy thinks McGregor needs to take care of. Not just because it makes sense, but to silence his critics.
“What I would like to see him do is unite the belts. I think Tony Ferguson is definitely deserving of that title shot against Conor McGreogr and I don’t like two belts floating around in the division for too long. I think that the interim title is a placeholder for the real title. You shouldn’t have that for very long. So, it makes sense for McGregor to come back and defend the belt against Tony Ferguson. Obviously the money fight is [Nate] Diaz, everybody wants to see that, including me. But, for the integrity of the sport and for McGregor’s legacy, he needs to solidify himself as a champion that would defend his belt, which he has not done yet. He’s getting a lot of heat for that from the fans and I think now he’s got a bank account full of cash. He doesn’t really need to worry too much about that now. He can focus on the things he wants to achieve as an athlete.”
— BT Sport UFC (@btsportufc) October 25, 2017
“I think what he wants to do is be the lightweight champion of the UFC, and to defend that belt, and to prove to people that he is the best lightweight in the world. The first fight obviously is Tony Ferguson for that. If he beats Tony Ferguson, it does a lot of the work for him because Conor’s had one fight in the lightweight division. He won the belt in that first fight. Tony Ferguson’s cleared out the division on this ridiculous run of wins. If Conor then steps in and beats Tony Ferguson, he’s effectively nullified every one of those opponents that Tony Ferguson’s already beaten. So, that only leaves a few more options in the division. Obviously, Khabib [Nurmagomedov] is up there as well. It’s a fascinating division and really McGregor’s got the pick of what he does, but I feel like the right thing to do is to face Tony Ferguson.” — Dan Hardy speaking to BTSport.
Dan Hardy is right. Conor McGregor coming back and beating Tony Ferguson would essentially be like defeating 10 fighters and he already holds a win over fourth-ranked lightweight Eddie Alvarez. After successfully defending his belt against Ferguson, McGregor would also be off the hook again to fight Nate Diaz or anyone else for that matter. While history has proven it’s unlikely for McGregor to stick in one division tallying up title defenses, the idea of possible fights between him and Justin Gaethje or Khabib Nurmagomedov or exciting to fantasize about.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 10/25/2017.