The UFC lightweight matchmakers will be busy bees over the next couple of weeks. As far as I am concerned Conor, Tony and Khabib are streets ahead of the rest in the UFC Lightweight division.
Two of those three need to be fighting each other by the end of March 2018. It doesn’t actually matter if Conor is one of them. It would undoubtedly be better if he was but with each passing month he is losing credibility. His inactivity is starting to eat up the store of goodwill he had built up.
Khabib Nurmagomedov for me is the best lightweight in the division. Curiously though it is HIS inactivity over a good many years that is killing him.
Weight Issues have contributed to this inactivity as we all know at this stage. However each time he steps into the Octagon he looks like a savage.
If Tony Ferguson and Khabib cut a deal to fight each other it would make both a great fight and long term financial sense.
By all accounts that I have read it is McGregors pay demends that are holding up a fight with Ferguson. McGregor can look to get what he wants I suppose but the longer he doesn’t fight the more fans are getting pissed off with him.
Khabib Nurmagomedov official purse on December 30th was 80 grand appearance and the same again as win Bonus. This is not really fair pay but he is paying the piper for that last minute missed weight cut against Ferguson last year.
Conor McGregor seems to think he should be getting paid a multiple of between 500 and a thousand times more than this. Maybe he is right or Maybe he is just super deluded post Mayweather.
The best move Khabib and Tony can do between them is to IGNORE Conor McGregor. Announce a fight against each other for Late Spring. This will have the effect of isolating Mcgregor from the lightweight division till the middle to late summer. It will be a lot easier to negotiate with him if he’s closing in on two years out of competition.
There are no other opponents in it worth talking about.
What about Nate Diaz I hear you roar!. Sure that fight can be made, it might make a tonne of money but it won’t confer any legitimacy on either fighter. And I do think Conor craves that legitimacy and legacy almost as much as he seems to crave gold.
To leave a legacy he needs to beat both Ferguson and Nurmagomedov. To that end from my point of view his best bet is Ferguson first and hope for the best against Khabib. I can’t at this moment see any circumstances bar maybe two 45 second windows in rounds 1 and 2 where he wins that fight.
Tony and Khabib need to realise though Conor needs them as much as they need him 2018.