The only person more excited than Frankie Edgar to see Cub Swanson lose on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 57 was Conor McGregor (pictured).
It’s like Christmas had come early for McGregor. He won without even having to lift a finger, unless you count the thumbs he used to let the MMA world know via Twitter that he was now on the doorstep of a UFC featherweight title fight after Swanson got submitted.
Swanson was promised a crack at reigning king Jose Aldo with a win. Now that Edgar erased him from contention, that leaves McGregor as the only top five opponent in the division that has yet to challenge Aldo.
All of McGregor’s detractors claim it’s too much too soon for the UFC’s golden boy. However, if McGregor beats veteran Dennis Siver in January, that would be 13 straight wins with his last five coming inside the octagon. The UFC could easily justify sliding “Notorious” into a championship affair.
Sure, it can be debated that McGregor should then have to face someone ranked above him, preferably a grappler like Chad Mendes, to earn top contender status, but what is a healthy Aldo supposed to do in the meantime?
Aldo is the only featherweight champ the UFC has ever known, and with seven straight title defenses (nine if you include his WEC run before getting promoted to the UFC) it can be argued he’s already waxed the division completely clean.
Aldo needs fresh meat or a fresh start in the lightweight class. While he’s discussed the possibility of moving up to 155 pounds in the past, it would benefit him greatly to meet McGregor first.
Not only because McGregor would be a new top five nemesis so a victory there would officially clear the decks, but the bout would draw massive pay-per-view numbers – the chatty McGregor would ensure that. Aldo hasn’t been shy about expressing his displeasure in his paychecks, so one massive money grab before relinquishing the title and jumping to lightweight would be his best move financially.
While Aldo is no fan of McGregor, best believe he understands the economic benefits for himself if the Irishman beats Siver.
Like him or not, McGregor is now in the diver’s seat to championship lane. It will then be Aldo’s job to prevent him from getting to the winner’s circle.