At this point, it’s hard to say who Conor McGregor will fight next. That said, there appear to be two frontrunners: Tony Ferguson and Nate Diaz. In the opinion of three-time UFC title challenger and current Bellator MMA star Chael Sonnen, the answer to the Ferguson or Diaz question is pretty simple. While a trilogy bout between McGregor and Diaz is undeniably compelling, he believes the interim champ Ferguson is the more sensible choice.
“I love the Nate Diaz fight, and history says you always go to a trilogy,” Sonnen said on the latest episode of BJ Penn Radio. “History does say that. The problem they’re running into right now with that sumbitch McGregor capturing the championship is that you also need to move a division forward, and that’s very important. That’s very important that you pay attention to the integrity of that as well. Tony has earned the right.”
“I don’t know that Tony versus McGregor doesn’t sell,” Sonnen continued, touching on doubts about Ferguson’s drawing power. “I think that Tony-McGregor maybe doesn’t sell as well as Diaz, maybe it does, but let’s just say that it doesn’t. You’re not separated by much there. They’re both going to do over a million [pay-per-view buys]. MMA does have a ceiling on it. Nobody’s going to do over 1.3 or 1.4. Those numbers just aren’t there yet. And McGregor is going to draw a million, million and one, you throw Tony in there, champion versus champion, I think there’s stuff to see there. But I do love the trilogy fight. I do love that Conor respects history. I watched Conor talk about that and say we’re one a piece, we’ve got to do part three, but I also owe it to do the division to take on the rightful guy and that’s Tony Ferguson. I think that Conor deserves a lot of credit for that. I think he’s done a lot of things his own way, but he still does pay respect to the history and lineage of our sport, and the history says when you’ve got one a piece, you go to the third match.”
“One of these parameters where we still haven’t broke this covenant yet is if you have an able and willing, healthy champion, and you have an able, willing and healthy interim champion, they’ve got to fight. That’s one piece that we still haven’t broken yet, and I hope that we don’t.”
“I’m quite sure that’s the matchup that will happen.”
What do you think of Chael Sonnen’s take on the situation?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 10/29/2017.