UFC president Dana White has confirmed Conor McGregor is on standby in case of an injury to UFC 249 headliners Khabib Nurmagomedov or Tony Ferguson.
This is the fifth time that Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have been booked to fight each other after the four previous bookings were canceled due to injuries. This time around the UFC has a fighter on standby just in case sometime happens, and it’s McGregor.
White recently spoke to ESPN.com and confirmed that McGregor will be ready to step in just in case something happens to either Nurmagomeov or Ferguson. Here’s what White said.
“Because Conor wants to fight three times this year. He’s hoping that if he beats Cowboy, he can turn right around and fight Khabib, but that timing and math isn’t going to work out. But you know Conor. Conor thinks the way Conor thinks. His thing is, I’ll fight Cowboy, I’ll beat Cowboy, and I’ll be ready to fight Khabib at 155 if anything happens, because we’re going into Khabib-Tony again. So Conor would be ready for that fight,” White said.
This news is sure to be met with criticism by fans, as McGregor has not won an MMA fight since a November 2016 knockout win over Eddie Alvarez. Since then McGregor has fought just once in MMA, losing to Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in October 2018. Having said that, he’s still the biggest star in the game, and that drawing power is important to the UFC.
A win over Cerrone would certainly do a lot for McGregor to re-gain the respect of the fans, but at the same time, the fact the fight is at 170lbs has many believing a win there shouldn’t get McGregor a title shot at 155lbs with top contender Justin Gaethje still waiting for one and eager to be on standby himself. Instead, it looks like McGregor is the UFC’s standby fighter.
What do you think about Conor McGregor being on standby in case of an injury to Khabib Nurmagomedov or Tony Ferguson?