Conor McGregor is one of the biggest stars in the history of MMA, but that doesn’t mean he automatically deserves a title shot.
In a recent interview with ESPN and Brett Okamoto, UFC president Dana White did not give a definitive answer to a difficult question.
When asked whether ‘The Notorious’ would receive an opportunity to fight for the belt in his comeback bout, the 52-year-old gave a fascinating response.
He said: “I don’t know the answer to that question until it gets closer.”
White clearly isn’t ruling out the idea. But off the back of two losses, some believe that the Irishman shouldn’t be in the conversation at all.
Why doesn’t Conor McGregor deserve a shot at the belt?
McGregor is undisputedly a massive draw, but that isn’t the only variable that must be considered when awarding championship opportunities.
In his prime, ‘The Notorious’ was incredible. His versatile array of strikes combined with his innate ability to dismantle opponents before the first bell rang made him a must-see attraction.
But since his loss to Floyd Mayweather in 2017, the 33-year-old has struggled to recapture his brilliant best.
His MMA career has spiralled into the abyss, having lost three of his last four fights. The most recent of those was against Dustin Poirier at UFC 264. McGregor was dominated before a freak injury to his tibia ended proceedings.
Therefore, many would see it as unfair to gift him a title shot when far more worthy contenders are available.
Earlier this month, Justin Gaethje solidified himself as the number one contender following an enthralling war with Michael Chandler. Therefore, it would make sense for him to get the next shot against Charles Oliveira. But amid speculation that this may not be the case, the American told TMZ that there would be consequences if he doesn’t receive what he has earned.
He said: “McGregor is so irrelevant. He has not won a fight since 2016 in the lightweight division. I’m ranked number one. That feels pretty good. My whole life I’ve been working towards this. A title shot is next. If not, I’ll f*cking burn it down. I’ll show up and start throwing dollies everywhere. I don’t know what the answer is.”
Why would Dana White want ‘The Notorious’ as his champion?
McGregor is responsible for the top five highest-grossing UFC events of all time. Therefore, his success is beneficial not only to himself but also to his employers.
He may not have won a fight in two years, but that doesn’t mean that a match-up with the champion wouldn’t be interesting.
The Brazilian has proven to the world that he’s willing to go to extremely dark places to get the victory. To retain his belt, he had to survive several fight-ending moments against Poirier at UFC 269.
Is there any chance that McGregor could beat Oliveira?
Oliveira’s submission game is nothing short of sensational, and if he could get hold of the Irish star, then the fight would be as good as over. But if his last two outings are anything to go by, he is vulnerable in the first round. Therefore, the Dubliner would have a chance. And we all know what he can be capable of inside the Octagon.
Conor McGregor is unlikely to get a title shot in his next fight. But it’s not an impossibility.
The pop-cultural icon is one of the most devastating punchers in combat sports history. If he hits anybody clean, then he can take them out. The legend may only have one round to do it. But if he can land his power shots on Oliveira, then there is a real chance that the former champion can reclaim his throne.
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