Two UFC champions have made their play for a red pantie night with Conor McGregor
The Nevada desert sand is yet to settle and the wounds are far from healed, but Conor McGregor is already fielding challenges from those hoping to harness his rediscovered momentum after last night’s sensational victory over Nate Diaz at UFC 202.
What night. What a battle. What a win. Confounding the vast majority of his contemporaries, as well a sizeable section of the fan-base, Conor McGregor rallied like never before to pass the toughest test of his career.
In beating Nate Diaz, he not only avenged his crushing submission loss at UFC 196 but also reaffirmed his status as the marquee name in mixed martial arts.
It was a bout contested at welterweight, though with no relevance to the division, and McGregor, as much as he’d love to just bask in only the second decision win of his career, is the champion of the featherweight bracket where, among others, Jose Aldo is chomping at the bit to welcome him back.
At the post fight press conference early this morning, McGregor was less than enthused about the prospect of facing the Brazilian, who, since the Dubliner viciously usurped him in 13 seconds in December at UFC 194, captured the interim title at the expense of Frankie Edgar last month at UFC 200.
Dana White has stipulated that, should the Crumlin man refuse to drop down and face Aldo in his next fight, then he must relinquish the crown.
Again, at the press event, McGregor appeared less than impressed by this prospect and, in light of his victory over Diaz, once again holds all the cards.
It’s all so easy to forget now but, prior to the unexpected saga with Diaz materialising, McGregor was supposed to be vying for history.
At UFC 196, he was scheduled to face then lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos in a bid to become the first man ever to concurrently hold two titles.
Dos Anjos got injured, and then Diaz stepped in and set that script aflame. In the meantime, Eddie Alvarez concussively unseated Dos Anjos.
The Philadelphian’s victory continued the trend of upsets which have permeated the UFC in 2016, and he was quick to lob barbs at McGregor, who he claimed was a decidedly abject fighter.
He and Diaz have engaged in verbal sparring too, which is probably why Alvarez lambasted him and McGregor on Twitter after the fight.
Thing is, a fight with McGregor, as he goes in search of unprecedented glory, would offer Alvarez the sort of windfall and exposure nobody in the lightweight bracket can come remotely close to replicating.
That there are currently no clear cut No.1 contenders at 155lbs bodes well for the McGregor.
Moreover, the UFC would not deny their golden goose the opportunity of entering the annals of history. Most likely, they’d let him keep the featherweight crown until after the fight; should he win, McGregor could then relinquish his featherweight strap with another around his waist.
If Alvarez prevails, then the rematch with Aldo is still in play.
Interesting times ahead.