UFC Fight Night (UFN) 46: McGregor vs. Brandao is less than 24 hours away and ahead of the (July 19, 2014) Dublin, Ireland, card, UFC President Dana White fielded questions from the media at the event’s pre-fight press scrum.
In the blizzard of news that emanated from it, one snowflake fell hard on this weekend’s focus and potential hero, Conor McGregor.
“Notorious” has been campaigning feverishly for a title shot and indeed, has stated that he has a “vision” that he’ll be the senior circuit’s featherweight champion before the end of the year.
With that as a backdrop, the question was put to White as to whether or not a win over Diego Brandao at UFN 46 would earn McGregor the title opportunity that he’s seeking.
By way of a response, White was blunt in laying out McGregor’s future. Stating that the 26-year-old Irish fighter has a “big test” in front of him in Diego Brandao, White remarked that even if the No. 13 ranked fighter “smokes” his opponent tomorrow he’s (McGregor) still two fights away from championship glory.
“No. I understand. I love this kid. I love his attitude. I love the way he thinks. I love how much of a real fighter this kid is. All the things that make Conor McGregor, Conor McGregor, I love, but I’m not going to rush him into something (like a title fight).
This is a big test for him. Let’s be honest, if he goes in there tomorrow night and smokes Diego Brandoa, with the shape he’s in and everything else, beating Diego, that’s impressive. Then we give him another test in the top ten. Then you move him up into possibly the top five if he looks impressive in that one. There’s a way to do it.”
Working off of White’s hypothetical and assuming that McGregor does “smoke” Brandao tomorrow night, it would be hard to see how “Notorious” would have earned a title shot; vision or no vision.
However, if McGregor does blow “DB” out of the water in Dublin it’s conceivable that he’d only need one more fight and win to earn his shot, and not two.
A scenario that saw Frankie Edgar and Cub Swanson being matched in a title contenders fight, No. 2 against No. 3 respectively, with one of them going down to injury prior to the bout, could easily put McGregor, as a scratch replacement opponent, in the right fight to land him at a title shot with one win.
It’s not a desirable scenario, but as fans witnessed today with lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov, injuries happen.
Photo courtesy of Conor McGregor