The UFC Has a New Champ Champ and it Could Be The Making of the Organization…
Daniel Cormier became the second man to successfully hold two titles simultaneously last weekend. He won the heavyweight title at UFC 226 in Las Vegas’s T-Mobile Arena, adding it to his light-heavyweight strap. It’s set to earn him millions of dollars and make him the face of the UFC.
While the clock is ticking on DC’s career – he might only have two fights left – the Louisiana native is set to defend his belts in massive money fights. The obvious one is against Brock Lesnar. Love it or hate it, it’s going to happen and people are going to tune in. Even if it’s just to watch Lesnar get smashed up.
This could have big ramifications for Conor McGregor. The Notorious hasn’t appeared in the octagon since 2016 but has basically been able to hold the UFC to ransom. Suddenly he’s no longer their only massive star. And in a time when he needs to make money soon, it’s not going to be as easy to manipulate the company as before.
Suddenly, McGregor is vulnerable. It’s looking like he’ll take on Khabib Nurmagamedov in October – probably in Las Vegas – if he can get past his legal hearing on July 26. Until then the UFC’s hands are tied. They’re not going to commit to anything.
McGregor’s position is weaker because he’s lost relevancy and fans. He hasn’t defended his titles and he’s gone a little bit crazy with money – remember when he was the working class hero? Meanwhile, Daniel Cormier has just emulated him by winning a second division – the most romantic of them all.
The fight against Lesnar is likely to do very strong numbers for the UFC. It’s not going to happen until early next year so there is plenty of time for both men to get fit, healthy, and in Lesnar’s case – clean. Then there’s a clear path to a fight against Jon Jones, assuming USADA gives him a short suspension.
Basically anything the UFC throws Cormier into is a no-lose situation. Even if DC doesn’t win, whoever beats him will basically become a star. Stick the likes of Alexander Volkov, Curtis Blaydes, and Alexander Gustafsson on his undercard and suddenly there’s more star power emerging. The UFC could finally start to spread the love.
It’s going to be fascinating to see the reaction when McGregor returns. He’s definitely the most financially successful MMA fighter of all time. He’s also going to be facing the most dangerous opponent of his career. If Khabib Nurmagamedov beats him – very possible because his style is the anthesis of McGregor’s – then The Eagle will instantly become a star in his own right.
McGregor’s played a complicated game by playing with the UFC for this long. Of course, he could just walk off into the sunset and finish up with the fight game once and for all. But if he is set to come back, he’s going to find that all of a sudden the UFC is not going to be so dependent on him. That’s a big deal.