In my latest mid-week take, I went in and explained three potential theories about UFC superstar Conor McGregor. The different angles included what his critics believe, his fans believe, and ultimately, my take on the situation at hand. The 29-year old is spending more time undergoing online interactions with Floyd Mayweather than actually fighting within UFC, but why? Here are three of the many potential theories surrounding the UFC champion:
1. Critics Theory: McGregor is afraid to tarnish his legacy
While McGregor went into the boxing world and took a tough loss, the UFC talent only became stronger. The lightweight division has been dominated by both Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov, who combine for an astonishing record of 48-3.
Between Ferguson and Nurmagomedov, the two combined have only allowed for sixteen of their bouts to go to the judge’s decision. In result, they finish their fights, and are much more equipped to defeat McGregor than anyone else in the current moment.
McGregor went from fighting three times in 2015, to three times in 2016, to a goose egg in the combined 2017-18 calendar year. Is it because he’s blown up in terms of popularity, or because there is a fair shot that the Irishman has found worthy competition?
2. Fans Theory: McGregor holds all the cards
In theory, McGregor does essentially hold the UFC hostage in terms of finances. The industry has struggled to put together a string of complete cards since McGregor’s exit, as he holds four of the top five pay-per-view UFC events in the history of the sport.
The net worth of McGregor is sitting at roughly $85 million entering 2018, while the next highest current MMA fighter would be Georges St. Pierre, who sits at a mere $25 million. The truth of the matter is that McGregor has experienced what Boxing money is like, and will require a higher contract from the UFC during these ongoing negotiations.
The UFC star has an array of options in front of him, some of which include “super fight” buzz. With that, McGregor shouldn’t feel the need to bite any bait, as he can take his time until the contract that Dana White proceeds with is to his liking.
3. My Theory: It’s a balance of both
This truly is a mix of both previous theories. On one hand, I firmly believe McGregor knows the talent that exists within his division of work, and facing either Nurmagomedov or Ferguson would be a thorn in his side. If I were in the shoes of McGregor, I would hold out on facing Nurmagomediv especially, considering the power he holds within the ground game.
On a different note, McGregor is the face of the UFC, and Dana White and company will need to overpay him drastically in order to get him back into the octagon. Since McGregor has emerged as a superstar, the UFC has been making millions of dollars off of his name. I don’t see an issue with McGregor holding out for that reason, but it’s difficult to pinpoint just one reason as to why McGregor isn’t scheduled to fight in the 2018 year.
Scratch out Nate Diaz’s name as a potential suitor, and two options stand for McGregor: The winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov/Tony Ferguson, or a super fight rematch including Floyd Mayweather in the octagon. The payroll system of the UFC doesn’t fit Mayweather’s norm within Boxing, but it’s entirely possible at this stage in time.