After a failed welterweight experiment, at least UFC golden child Conor McGregor (pictured) has his featherweight belt to fall back on, and it appears that’s exactly what McGregor intends to do.
The question is, will former champ Jose Aldo, who McGregor obliterated in merely 13 seconds in December to unify the strap, or fresh blood in Frankie Edgar get the nod against the “Notorious” one?
“I think next is probably go back down and defend the featherweight crown,” McGregor said at Saturday’s UFC 196 post-fight pres conference after getting submitted by Nate Diaz. “It’s hard not to give Aldo another go. He was 10 years undefeated. But again, he pulls out a lot. He doesn’t show up. Frankie at least gets in there and competes. I don’t know.
“I’ll keep my ear to the ground and see who the fans want to see the most. But then I’ll sit and wait patiently for the lightweight belt to be contested.”
McGregor’s haters came out in droves Saturday after he tapped out to Diaz’s rear-naked choke, but let’s not forget the Irishman’s master plan has always been to become the UFC’s first two-way champion. That possibility is still on the table because, despite a loss to Diaz, McGregor still dons the UFC featherweight crown.
He was initially slated to challenge UFC lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos Saturday, but dos Anjos pulled out at the last-minute with a broken foot, which allowed Diaz to slide in and upset MMA’s biggest superstar.
What happened at UFC 196 shouldn’t affect McGregor’s pursuit of the lightweight throne since his bout against Diaz was contested at welterweight. A successful featherweight title defense against Aldo or Edgar, then a lightweight title tilt after that and the McGregor train is right back on track.
“I believe Nate will maybe fight dos Anjos now,” McGregor predicted. “I think after I defend myself and climb back up, I think I will get my shot at that lightweight belt once again. Maybe Nate and I could do it again.”
Win, lose or draw against Diaz, McGregor was previously planning on performing on July 9’s historic UFC 200 event. McGregor says that’s still in play. The question now is, Aldo or Edgar?