Conor McGregor’s Next Step Needs to be Carefully Managed by the Notorious and the UFC… Otherwise, His Professional Fighting Career Could End Up Like Ronda Rousey’s…
In case you were camped out on a desert island in the middle of the ocean last weekend, Conor McGregor lost to Khabib Nurmagamedov last weekend. His comeback after two years out of the octagon was brutally shut down, as ‘The Eagle’ proved that he is the dominant force in lightweight MMA.
This creates a bigger problem for both the UFC and McGregor. They need to examine the Irish fighter’s identity. His polarizing personality and charisma will still drag in big numbers, but the fact is that he’s damaged goods. It doesn’t matter how big someone’s name is. In combat sports, if you’re not winning, then the only road is down.
That’s what Ronda Rousey found out, as she became a victim of her own success and the pressure it created. She succumbed to the media and was unable to bounce back from her shock defeat to Holly Holm. Then she lost again to Amanda Nunes, effectively ending her UFC career. Is history repeating itself with McGregor?
It’s important to remember that McGregor has lost before in the UFC. Nate Diaz defeated him on short notice. However, the manner in which the Notorious was beaten was entirely different. He lit Diaz up for the first round, landing punches at will.
Diaz was dropped several times but his head is huge so he didn’t get knocked out. McGregor – fighting for the first time at welterweight, gassed out, got caught, panicked and was submitted. The big difference was this fight – and the next Diaz match was a contest. The Nurmagamedov clash was a brutal battering. Now he has fallen down the pound-for-pound rankings.
The Notorious is probably lucky that Khabib launched himself at Dillon Danis starting that brawl because it creates the impetus for a rematch. Otherwise, he literally would have no grounds. That second round was one of the most one-sided beatings we’ve ever seen in the UFC.
Fox Sports’s contract with the UFC is ending soon and they’ve noticeably got more brutal with their analysis. Shannon Sharpe said:
“Dana White and Conor McGregor need to be very careful that they don’t run into a situation like Ronda Rousey, because Conor’s their cash cow, but he can’t keep losing.”
It’s a very good point. Should McGregor actually take that rematch next? Joe Rogan has suggested there are plenty of other winnable fights he could take to get him back on track before going for the title again. He named Edson Barboza and Anthony Pettis as two exciting possibilities. A win would give him momentum and create more excitement. Don’t rush too much too soon.
While a rematch with Khabib would capture a massive audience, there’s a reason he’s already a massive favorite to win it. A McGregor loss would be detrimental to his career. Not his financial prospects – but to his legacy. Maybe the UFC needs to learn from boxing. Look at Tyson Fury. ‘The Gypsy King’ took some easy warm-up fights before agreeing on a match with Deontay Wilder. His fans were actually upset that he didn’t get one more to warm up.
The only time the UFC has ever done anything similar was when Jon Jones came back once and he fought Ovince Saint-Preux. They really need to be careful how they manage McGregor because his career is on thin ice. For the first time in almost four years, ‘The Notorious’ has no claim to any title. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. Maybe it’s time for the Diaz trilogy?
The main positive is that McGregor is focused on combat sports. He’s turned down lucrative roles in movies and TV, which was the main bane of Rousey’s UFC career. His business side is booming – especially his Proper Twelve whiskey. It’s not over yet, but he needs to make some big decisions.