Ever given he stopped Eddie Alvarez in Nov 2016, Conor McGregor has been a UFC’s lightweight champion in name only.
The 16-month exodus that followed for McGregor (21-3), including a TKO detriment in hisfinal August, couldn’t have come during a worse time for a multiplication so overloaded with championship-ready talent.
The sad, roughly Shakespearean tale of Tony Ferguson-Khabib Nurmagomedov didn’t assistance many either.
Nurmagomedov pulled out of their halt pretension hitch final Mar when he was hospitalized after a formidable weight cut. After Ferguson degraded Kevin Lee for a belt 7 months later, UFC attempted to rebook Ferguson-Nurmagomedov this weekend for a fourth time in a categorical eventuality ofuntil a cruelest of Apr Fools’ Day irony played out on Sunday. Ferguson (23-3) at a TV studio in a weird collision that ruled him medically misleading to fight.
The fallout of a damage looks like this:
Nurmagomedov (25-0) will face 145-pound champion Max Holloway (19-3) on usually 6 days’ notice for a full lightweight pretension in a categorical eventuality of Saturday’s UFC 223 during a Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. McGregor, per UFC boss Dana White, will be nude of his pretension a impulse both fighters enter a cage. Adding insult to injury, Ferguson will also be nude of his halt belt, White told ESPN on Sunday. (White also pronounced McGregor was never deliberate to reinstate Ferguson, despite Nurmagomedov’s mysterious tweet.)
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Despite McGregor’s loitering and a consistent doubt of his return, his shade still looms vast over both a multiplication and Saturday’s pretension bout. It’s unknown, of course, possibly a ardent Irishman will be in assemblage (even with teammate Artem Lobov on a undercard) and no impact dunk, if he is, that he’ll perform UFC’s hopes of entering a Octagon to provoke a quarrel opposite a winner.
Had Ferguson and Nurmagomedov still been confronting off on Saturday, it’s satisfactory to theory McGregor wouldn’t have left anywhere nearby a cage. That’s not a explanation on possibly he’s fearful of possibly one, though some-more a business equation deliberation McGregor, who warranted a reported $100 million opposite Mayweather, has some-more precedence to call his possess shots during a impulse than any UFC warrior has ever known.
Should Nurmagomedov constraint UFC bullion in widespread conform in Brooklyn, one could make a box that McGregor competence be finished with a pretension design during 155 pounds, simply given UFC competence not be means to compensate him adequate to clear a danger. A outcome like that could send McGregor into a full-time office of big-money showcases opposite a likes of Nate Diaz and Georges St-Pierre, if not some form of a fair rematch (boxing or churned rules) opposite Mayweather.
Yet a furious label in this case, and a usually possibility we usually competence see McGregor call out Saturday’s winner, could come in a form of a Holloway win. The reason is given Holloway would now hold, along with a dual pretension belts McGregor was nude of, a usually thing that competence meant some-more to McGregor than money: his bequest as a usually warrior to reason championships in dual UFC weight groups simultaneously.
The fact that McGregor is a final chairman to better Holloway doesn’t harm matters, even if a Hawaiian was usually 21 during a time. Neither does a fact that Holloway, should he lift a upset, would be catapulted so fast to stardom that a income indispensable to make a McGregor quarrel competence shortly be there.
But a odds, in this case, positively aren’t in Holloway’s favor, even with his aloft chain on many pound-for-pound rankings than Ferguson or Nurmagomedov. Holloway, who was commissioned as a +375 underdog, is relocating adult in weight on reduction than a week’s notice opposite one of a many dangerous fighters in a sport. He’s also usually over a month private from an ankle damage that pulled him from a Mar 3 pretension invulnerability opposite Frankie Edgar.
Predicting McGregor’s subsequent pierce hasn’t been easy for fans, critics or even a UFC alike. While his name will positively be mentioned copiousness on Saturday as he’s relieved of nonetheless another pretension he never defended, here’s to anticipating we also see his face.
It’s a slightest McGregor could do after hijacking a multiplication that has turn strictly accursed given a impulse he became king.