Conor McGregor rarely ceases to amaze us, and UFC 205 was no exception, as he dominated Eddie Alvarez in a performance that ended in a second round knockout. McGregor is now the first fighter in UFC history to hold two belts at the same time: the 145-pound featherweight belt that he earned last December by knocking out Jose Aldo. An effort that took one punch and twelve seconds, and the 155-pound lightweight belt that he took from Alvarez on Saturday. It’s impossible to deny that the UFC has given McGregor superstar treatment. They’ve allowed him to hold on to his featherweight belt for nearly a year now without defending it. They gave him a lightweight title shot despite never having fought in the division. However, he did prove to be more than worthy of both of those championship fights.
So good for Conor, he got to live out his fantasy of holding one belt over each shoulder and acting like an asshole. And good for the UFC, they’ve sold the shit out of their biggest star to date, and their fame and fortune, along with McGregor’s, continues to grow. Things took a little detour with the Nate Diaz fights. That was fun, but kind of a novelty. Now they got back on track with the Alvarez fight and Conor is once again fighting for championships as he should be. There’s only one thing Conor McGregor hasn’t done in his career: defend a belt. Now it’s time to do that.
As badly as Jose Aldo would love to get his rematch against McGregor, Conor isn’t going back down to featherweight. Getting to 145 pounds is an insane weight cut for a guy Conor’s size, and he already did everything he needed to do in that division. He knocked out Jose Aldo faster than you can say Khabib Nurmagomedov (spoiler alert), and he beat Max Holloway in 2013, who is widely considered the most dangerous contender in the division. The UFC allowed McGregor hold the featherweight belt hostage for long enough, now it’s time they tell him to give it up and move on. Tell him that if he ever wants to go back down to 145, they’ll give him a shot to get his belt back, but until then, it’s time to let Conor McGregor and the featherweight division go their separate ways.
There’s already rumors swirling about McGregor taking a shot at the welterweight title, which would give him three belts (because who wants just two championship belts). But Conor had enough trouble beating Nate Diaz at 170, he has no business fighting Tyron Woodley. And he’s never going to fight Floyd Mayweather in any platform other than social media, so lets just end that discussion right now. The only way Mayweather is willing to fight McGregor is in a straight up boxing match, and Conor has absolutely no business doing that.
Conor McGregor doesn’t need to get cute with his next fight. He doesn’t need to jump to another division, or another sport, or convince some washed up star to come out of retirement, or fight Nate Diaz for a third time. All he needs to do is look at the top two contenders in the division, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson.
Both Tony Ferguson, who has won nine straight UFC fights, and Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is 24-0 in his MMA career, have great cases to land the title shot against McGregor. Neither would be an easy out, but Nurmagomedov’s well-balanced skill set, size and power, and incredible wrestling make him a very difficult matchup for McGregor. Khabib might actually be the one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, he just hasn’t had a chance to prove it yet.
If Conor wants to satisfy all the hardcore MMA fans and prove just how good he is against the best competition, Khabib Nurmagomedov is the fight. Then Tony Ferguson can fight Nate Diaz with the assumption that the winner gets the next title shot. Although you know what they say about assumptions, and Conor McGregor loves to make asses out of people, just ask Jose Aldo and Eddie Alvarez.
There’s really no predicting what the UFC or Conor McGregor will do at any time, but let’s hope this time they do the right thing for the sport, and book a fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov.