Dana White Discusses What New UFC 249 Headliner Means For Conor McGregor
Earlier this year, Dana White said the plan was to have Conor McGregor fight the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov versus Tony Ferguson. Well, now that the UF 249 headliner's changed up, what does that mean for the star?
After Conor McGregor ran through Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 in January, Dana White said the star had earned a title fight with the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov versus Tony Ferguson.
Well, now that Ferguson is fighting Justin Gaethje at UFC 249, White’s admitted those plans likely need to change.
White discusses what’s next for McGregor
Following the news that Nurmagomedov is stranded in Russia, on account of the coronavirus pandemic, the UFC has tapped Gaethje to fight Ferguson on April 18th. In addition, the fight is for the interim lightweight title.
As a result, whoever wins in the interim belt, won’t face Nurmagomedov until later summer, early fall, until after he observes Ramadan. So, what does this mean for McGregor? While talking to ESPN, White said the following (quotes via MMA Fighting).
“This impacts everybody,” White said. “There’s three fights that have already been postponed, we’re going to work out over the next several weeks and I don’t know where this puts anybody.
“Conor really wants that rematch with Khabib. Well Khabib and Tony or Gaethje won’t fight now until probably September.”
“Nobody saw this coming. This is one of those things you can’t predict or see coming. It happened but we’re rolling with it and we’re going to get it figured out.”
Now, it is true that recently there was renewed talk about McGregor fighting this summer, and at the time, Gaethje was floated as a possible opponent.
But even if McGregor does fight this summer, say against Nate Diaz, then he would still be looking at late 2020 for a shot at the lightweight crown. Assuming, of course, he wins his next fight, and whoever holds the lightweight title is injury-free and good to go for another bout in 2020.
White notes “everybody” felt Gaethje deserves shot before McGregor
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When White first announced the UFC’s plans to hand McGregor a title shot, after UFC 246, not everyone was on board. A lot of people argued that McGregor should face Gaethje first, since the latter has won three in a row and all by first-round knockout.
McGregor, meanwhile, is only one win removed from his 2018 loss to Khabib. Well, while referring to the views above, White said this.
“Everybody felt that if Conor was going to get a shot at Khabib that actually Gaethje should get it before Conor,” White said. “I mean it couldn’t have worked out any better.
“You get Gaethje vs. Tony. It’s the fight that makes sense. It’s two of the top guys in the world. Khabib is out so the winner will face Khabib.”
Now it’s going to be really interesting to see if and who McGregor does fight next. Is Diaz the front-runner?