Former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion Conor McGregor committed what was by far the most ‘Notorious’ act of his MMA career when he stormed into the Barclays Center on April 5 and threw a metal dolly through a bus containing current UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The fallout of the all-out chaos saw McGregor booked and jailed on a felony charge and multiple misdemeanors, and also left two fighters riding that bus unable to compete at April 7’s UFC 223 from Brooklyn.
It’s left the future of the UFC’s biggest star in extreme uncertainty – if not outright jeopardy – and it’s also left him drawing comparisons to troubled all-time UFC great Jon Jones, who has seen his otherwise historic career go careening down a path of disappointing drug-related issues.
The man perhaps most connected to the sad saga of ‘Bones,’ his longtime rival and current UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, recently weighed in on the parallels between McGregor and Jones during a recent media appearance (via Yahoo!) to promote tomorrow’s debut of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 27, which he’ll coach alongside heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic.
To Cormier, his unpredictable nature won’t prevent fans from accepting him because he’s seen the same scene unfold with Jones:
“His behavior has been a tad bit erratic, and the one thing people don’t like is erratic behavior where they really don’t know what you’re doing next,” Cormier said. “But as we saw with Jones, it did not lead to people completely turning their backs on him. I think because of his ability to fight, and he’s such a special talent, people will accept him when he comes back.”
Cormier stopped short of declaring that the public would accept McGregor back fully, however, because he thinks people will still be somewhat tentative considering that he’s now showed he could do anything at any time:
“But they’ll be a little more leery of him because of that erratic behavior, he could go off the deep end at any time, as we saw in Brooklyn.”
It’s a good point from Cormier, who will face Miocic for the heavyweight title in the main event of July 7’s UFC 226 in an attempt to become one of the more decorated champions in UFC history.
The fight just as easily could have gone to Jones if he had not been suspended for using the anabolic steroid Turinabol prior to his UFC 214 knockout win over his longtime rival, but he did, and now it’s “DC” who stands on the edge of making history. It’s far from Jones’ only outside-the-cage transgression while scheduled to fight Cormier, so he’s all too familiar with how going off the edge in public can derail an otherwise supremely talented fighter.
McGregor’s the biggest star in UFC history on the other hand, and he’s yet to receive any kind of punishment from the UFC and accounting for how much they need him to return, he may not.
But the legal system he’s now caught up in is another matter altogether, and even though he may get off easy the first time, another such outburst may not produce the same result.
Will McGregor eventually go off the deep end as Cormier suggests he could?