What’s Next for Conor McGregor? And Does Anyone Really Care?
To the world at large, Conor McGregor is the biggest name in MMA. He’s the man who took on Floyd Mayweather and – well, lost. His personal life has also been a matter for public debate, after a snap with Rita Ora turned into one of the biggest showbiz bust ups of 2017.
To those who know and love the UFC, however, the mere mention of the self-styled “Notorious” is enough to prompt a stifled yawn. It is now 14 months since McGregor picked up the UFC lightweight title with his victory over Eddie Alvirez at UFC 205, and, to put it bluntly, he is rapidly becoming old news.
UFC or Boxing, the World Moves On
14 months is a long time in any sport. On December 30, we bore witness to UFC 219 in Las Vegas, and Khahib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov dominated Edson Barboza, before calling out Tony Ferguson for a title shot. Conor who? Meanwhile, in the world of boxing, Mayweather has gone back to his promoting and media activities, while fans are rushing to claim these boxing odds on Anthony Joshua, Carl Frampton and the returning Amir Khan. Did someone mention McGregor? No, not a soul. Both the UFC and boxing worlds have tired of his antics and moved on.
Still Box Office
Of course, it is easy to say we don’t care, just as it is easy for Nurmagomedov to tell reporters: “I don’t think about this guy.” But we all know that he would be as keen to take on McGregor if the opportunity arose as we would to witness the encounter.
This is a view that is shared by UFC boss Dana White. He has maintained that McGregor will return this year, and risked a certain degree of ridicule, by publicly defending McGregor’s failure to defend his title.
UFC 222 Return?
In a potential hint to McGregor’s increasingly frustrated and apathetic fanbase, coach John Kavanagh tweeted images of himself watching video footage of Nurmagomedov’s last fight. The Dagestan-born fighter added fuel to the fire by taking to social media himself, promising that “big news is coming.” (More recently, Nurmagomedov has been booked to fight Ferguson at UFC 223, April 7th).
However, with Dana White commenting that McGregor is “unlikely to return before August,” and the UFC announcing Max Holloway and Franke Edgar as the headline event for UFC 222, it seems that a return to action is unlikely to take place any time soon.
Instead, the focus has already shifted away from the will-he or won’t-he saga and onto a mouth-watering match up in March. Holloway will go into the fight hot favorite – bookmakers already have him at 3/1 on – but 36 year old Edgar from Tom’s River, New Jersey, will have the crowd on his side, and that can count for a lot in the Nevada heat.
Meanwhile, McGregor is becoming ever more of a sideshow. While others take center stage in UFC, he seems more interested in trolling Floyd Mayweather and keeping the media talking about a potential rematch. Perhaps the more pertinent question is whether anyone will bother to watch.