Conor McGregor has always shot for the stars, and his ambition is undoubtedly one of his best qualities. In the past, the Notorious held the key to his future, running through the featherweight division in unprecedented fashion before moving up to lightweight and stopping Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205. Now, however, the Irishman looks a shadow of his former self. Having lost three of his last six bouts, McGregor’s stock has fallen, but he’s still the talk of the UFC.
It’s no secret that McGregor wants to move back up to welterweight and fight for the belt, having last fought at 170 pounds against Donald Cerrone in September 2020. His dream of becoming the UFC’s first three-weight world champion isn’t a straightforward one, with Kamaru Usman standing in his way. The Nigerian Nightmare doesn’t fear McGregor, and there’s no reason he should, but their verbal sparring generates some intrigue. So, could a fight between the pair happen in the future?
The Pair Have Gone Back and Forth for a Little While
At the time of writing, McGregor has thrice fought at welterweight, and he envisages a return to the division in the future. Prior to his recent second-round defeat to the former lightweight interim champion, Dustin Poirier, the Notorious stated that he “thinks” a bout with Usman will happen once he’s finished at lightweight, as per MMA Fighting. The 32-year-old called out the Nigerian Nightmare for seemingly copying his fighting style both inside and outside of the cage, and Usman didn’t take long to respond.
Few can argue that McGregor isn’t one of the best trash talkers in MMA, but his approach doesn’t have much of an effect on Usman, who received similar verbal attention from Colby Covington. In light of the Notorious’ future plans, Usman labeled the Irishman as a “loudmouth” and a “regular fighter”, according to MMA Mania.
Following McGregor’s stoppage win over Cerrone, Usman offered McGregor a shot at the belt, although the 32-year-old seemingly didn’t press for that opportunity. That said, the pair are now embroiled in a war of words, meaning a potential fight remains on the cards.
Would That Bout Sell?
McGregor is currently focused on his trilogy fight with Poirier, with the winner potentially in line to fight the newly-crowned lightweight champion, Charles Oliveira. If the Notorious regains the strap and records back-to-back wins over Poirier and Oliveira, moving up to face Usman as a champion is something that both the company and fans could get behind. However, that’s easier said than done.
Poirier goes into the UFC 264 main event against McGregor having won eight of his last nine fights, with his only loss coming against the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 242. Even if the Irishman does pull off something of an upset against the Diamond, Oliveira is on a nine-fight winning streak, with victories over Kevin Lee, Tony Ferguson, and Michael Chandler.
Irrespective of whether McGregor is a champion, a potential bout with Usman would likely record impressive sales figures. Poirier vs. McGregor 2, for example, wasn’t for a belt, and that’s the second best-selling pay-per-view event in UFC history. Furthermore, the Notorious’ first-round welterweight win over Cerrone recorded 1.35 million PPV buys, making it the fourth best-selling event. The Irishman’s non-title appearances amass near-record-breaking numbers, so a fight with Usman could make sense from a business standpoint.
The UFC May Need the Fight More Than the Fans Want to See It
As evident from the above numbers, McGregor is a valuable asset to the UFC. In fact, as the PPV figures show, the company have never had a more marketable fighter. There can be no doubt that the Irishman took the company to new heights and made MMA a must-watch sport among mainstream audiences. This is evident from the fact that MMA betting has taken off over the last few years, and the Notorious has undoubtedly contributed towards that.
Nowadays, and following McGregor’s rise to stardom, global fans can immerse themselves in the latest fights at UFC & MMA betting sites. These review platforms allow spectators access to a range of MMA-related betting types, including the winning fighter, round betting, and method of victory. Because of the sport’s growth, fans can bet on every UFC card, including UFC 264, where McGregor meets Poirier for the third time. This emergence of UFC betting opportunities is a testament to McGregor’s ability to bring new fans to MMA.
However, there are question marks over how many will continue to watch the sport in a post-Notorious era. From the UFC’s standpoint, booking him to fight Usman ensures that the 32-year-old remains relevant, which can only be good for business.
Usman Presents McGregor with a Chance to Make History
It’s hard to argue with those who believe that the UFC shouldn’t hand McGregor yet another title shot. The Irishman’s results show that he’s no longer at the pinnacle, and those around him are working tirelessly to earn their chance at a UFC championship. However, the UFC is a business. If an opportunity arises where booking the Notorious against Usman makes sense, the promotion may not think twice. A potential three-weight champion versus arguably the future UFC GOAT may too tempting to turn down.
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