So alerts Stateside have confirmed Conor McGregor will be stripped of the title ahead of UFC 223. That’s old news. But now the belt is vacant, Khabib Nurmagomedov believes he will be strapping in on after taking out opponent Tony Ferguson.
And the Eagle has already gone as far as denouncing McGregor’s chances of challenging for the title following this event. Nurmagomedov went on record to say what we’re all thinking: that ‘The Notorious’ should earn the right to fight for the title.
Fair point, the Irishman hasn’t set foot inside the Octagon in nearly 16 months.
“No, he has to pay,” Nurmagomedov answered in a recent interview with TMZ. “He has to pay.”
That leaves Conor with several options: wait for a blockbuster fight with GSP, that’s where the money is; go a third time with Nate Diaz, for less purse but potentially less hurt; or go for a low-risk wildcard opponent to remain relevant in the UFC.
Meanwhile, in the next weight class up, Darren Till is searching for homecoming match in Brazil and he has his radar locked onto to Rafael Dos Anjos.
The British welterweight firecracker has called out the Brazilian after dismissing the notion of mixing it up with Gunny Nelson, and failing to lure in Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson to fight.
Dos Anjos doesn’t need to jeopardise his place as number one ranked contender by accepting this bout with Till. It makes no sense for him, on either a financial or professional basis. But Till now has a core UFC following.
Could it be that he and McGregor settle on a catch-weight fight for top European MMA bragging rights? Both have exciting fighting styles and a celebrity aura to ensure the narrative works both inside out outside of the Octagon.
If McGregor wins, he carries with him momentum to call out Nurmagomedov or Woodley. Should Till take victory, he has every reason to jockey for a title shot at 170lbs.
If these two guys go at it in UFC, who do you think comes out on top?