The UFC lightweight division is still on lockdown, but it may be returning to normal once we know what’s next for UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, who won the title last year at UFC 205 from Eddie Alvarez.
Since he won the title, the division has been in a state of tumult. This is when McGregor took an extended hiatus to celebrate the birth of his first child and then got his super fight with boxing legend Floyd Mayweather granted.
As a result of that fight, not only did he put some big money into his bank account but he made himself the biggest fighter in the world right now.
While McGregor was off making history, Tony Ferguson did the same thing he’d been doing all along, which is winning fights and calling out the champion. Now that he’s the interim lightweight champion, it appears that Ferguson’s trash talk might just be getting him somewhere.
McGregor’s striking coach Owen Roddy recently appeared on the Talking Brawls podcast and stated that Ferguson had done enough to earn a shot at McGregor.
“It’s exciting,” said Roddy (transcript courtesy of MMA Fighting). “When the word goes out like that and people start talking about it, it’s usually not far off of the deal being done. It could be a good one. Ferguson is the interim champion and rightfully so. He had a good performance against Lee, and he’s had a lot of good performances.
“I’d like to see it. People, including myself, were talking about the Diaz fight, but who knows that may come again. But if it’s Ferguson, that’s going to be a cracker as well. I still see the same outcome. I still see Conor — if they’re standing for any sort of extended period on the feet, it’ll be a quick one, and that’s it.
“He’s just not as tidy as Conor. You play the percentages, and Conor’s the cleaner, more refined striker. Ferguson is tough, he’s unorthodox, but in my opinion, Conor’s just the superior striker, most definitely.”
Since his bout with Mayweather in August, the feeling was that McGregor’s return to MMA will be a trilogy fight against Nate Diaz due to the fact that it’s the most lucrative fight possible to make right now. However, with Diaz demanding a high price for the trilogy and Ferguson’s impressive stoppage of Kevin Lee at UFC 216, UFC President Dana White seems invested in the idea of a title unification bout.
“That’s what Dana White is saying, and because Ferguson is picking at Conor and stuff like that, it’s starting to look like the more logical fight, but who knows? It’s an exciting fight, isn’t it? He definitely brings problems, and people are asking for it, that’s the most important thing. . . Obviously, money talks at the end of the day and whatever makes the most money is what both people would go for. But because people are asking for it and posting about it, that’s starting to gain the momentum that’s needed to get that big fight. It’s starting to build. It’ll be a good fight. It’ll definitely be a good fight.”
In regards to when the fight may happen, there’s no set date. White has said that he hopes McGregor will fight before the end of the year, possibly at UFC 219 on Dec. 30. However, there has been some talk of the UFC champion McGregor waiting to fight until St. Patrick’s Day in 2018.
“If Conor wants to go at the end of the year, then we go straight into camp. He came back training last week, and got a couple of sessions in. He’s back in the gym after that whole whirlwind. I think it’d be great to let him get back training and enjoying training and take it from there but at the end of the day, whatever happens, happens. If we go into camp tomorrow, we go into camp tomorrow, and we get it done.”