With the latest UFC rankings being released this week, Conor McGregor is still the UFC lightweight champion, how long that will be the case though is anybody’s guess, but would McGregor actually prefer to be relieved of his title and the obligations that come with it?
McGregor might be thinking, if I had returned now, I would have to face Tony Ferguson, and then if I win, Khabib Nurmagomedov is next, two tough fights, and neither fight is McGregor certain of winning, especially the Khabib fight. By waiting, Ferguson and Khabib fight each other, worst case, McGregor only has to fight one of them.
I also get the impression McGregor has no interest in meeting the normal obligations of being a UFC champion, fighting contender after contender, McGregor in my opinion, wants the money fights, I’m not sure either Ferguson or Khabib are the more lucrative of opponents, other options I believe would generate higher PPV numbers.
A couple of names stand out, Nate Diaz the obvious one. The 3rd fight to complete the trilogy would do huge numbers, and not being the champion allows McGregor to take the fight. With Diaz not having fought since losing the rematch with McGregor, he should not be allowed to go straight back into a title fight over more deserving and active lightweight challengers.
GSP for me is the other, a genuine super fight and again it would tick all the boxes for a massive PPV draw, possibly the biggest fight the UFC could make. GSP has shown interest in the fight, and it might be the only fight that could tempt him to return if his ongoing health issues can be resolved of course.
Obviously, with McGregor nobody knows what his next move will be, maybe not even him, but his future fights, and I don’t think there will be that many by the way, would be easier to make without a UFC title around his waist.