Conor McGregor’s UFC return has been nailed down for January. As soon as UFC President Dana White officially confirmed McGregor’s next fight against Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, he also hinted at a rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov if Conor manages to win against Cowboy.
Justin Gaethje, who has won his last three fights in the lightweight division, wasn’t too pleased by this and responded immediately on Twitter.
Cowboy is on a two-fight losing streak and ranks fifth in the welterweight division. He was convincingly beaten by Gaethje and Tony Ferguson in his last two fights in the lightweight division. Although MMA fans are happy that Cowboy is finally getting his big money fight after paying his dues at the UFC, he is considered past his prime by many. So, beating Cowboy shouldn’t be enough to hand Conor the Khabib fight.
McGregor’s meteoric rise to fame bought a lot of new fans to the UFC. This was great for the company’s business as his fights attracted huge pay-per-view buys. As a result, Dana White has always given preferential treatment to McGregor. Conor has been allowed to get away with a lot of controversial things in his UFC tenure.
Dana White’s claim that McGregor can have his rematch against Khabib “if he gets through Cowboy Cerrone” showed the MMA world that pro-Conor bias is still alive. White’s comment didn’t sit well with hardcore MMA fans as they know McGregor hasn’t done enough to deserve the Khabib fight.
McGregor has fought just four times in the UFC in the last four years, losing two of those fights. Judging by that record alone, it’s obvious that McGregor hasn’t done enough to deserve a rematch against Khabib. Any other fighter in McGregor’s place would have had to work his way up the lightweight division.
McGregor isn’t even being asked to take one fight in the lightweight division. Apparently, one fight at welterweight against a fighter who’s on a losing streak is enough to hand McGregor the potential title shot. White came up with an unconvincing explanation while speaking to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto :
I mean look at what McGregor has done over the years. Then he loses to Khabib and there was bad blood between the two of them. You know Gaethje is on his way up as well. We’ve offered him a lot of fights but he hasn’t taken any. So, Conor is next in line if he beats Cowboy.
Does he mean big money when he says “bad blood”? Only Dana knows. He looks to be in complete denial of his preferential treatment of Mystic Mac. This will definitely leave a bad taste in the mouths of fighters who have been working their way up the lightweight division. Maybe only when talented fighters start quitting UFC will White realize his mistake.