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Conor McGregor is granted a boxing license in California, but what does that mean?

Matthew Wells

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Let the Floyd Mayweather versus Conor McGregor talk officially begin! Conor McGregor has a boxing license! This may actually happen!

Before you get too excited about the prospective matchup between McGregor and Mayweather in the boxing ring, or any McGregor boxing match for that matter, there are a lot of angles to look at in this situation.

As announced earlier this evening by Brett Okamoto of ESPN, Conor McGregor has been granted a boxing license in the state of California. Additional details would reveal he is seeking out additional licenses in other states as well. Andy Foster, executive officer of the California State Athletic Commission simply stated, “He’s a California boxer now.” While this could ultimately be a move to truly pursue the sport of boxing in the near future, there is also the possibility that this is the latest power play from the UFC’s top draw.

After defeating Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205, Conor McGregor became the first man in the history of the promotion to hold two championship belts simultaneously. Leading up to the bout, UFC President Dana White mentioned that McGregor would have to give up one of the championship belts, in an effort to prevent one of the titles from becoming stagnant. Considering the drastic weight cut McGregor must endure to make the 145-pound limit, it was implied that McGregor would be giving up his featherweight title while retaining the newly acquired lightweight belt. Just two weeks after claiming his place in the history books, the UFC stripped Conor McGregor of the featherweight gold, but for reasons that were completely unexpected.

Daniel Cormier was set to headline UFC 206 on December 10, defending his title against Anthony Johnson. Unfortunately, Cormier suffered a groin injury and had to pull out of the fight – a major blow to a Pay-Per-View card which already had concerns about potential viewership. In an effort to create more interest for the event, Cormier’s injury created a ripple effect to shake up the featherweight division. The UFC stripped McGregor (or he relinquished, as the story goes) and promoted Jose Aldo’s interim title to undisputed while elevating the co-main bout between Anthony Pettis and Max Holloway to the top billing. To sweeten the deal, the new main event also became an interim title fight, guaranteeing the winner a shot at Jose Aldo in 2017.

McGregor stated he would take a break from fighting at the UFC 205 post-fight press conference due to the upcoming birth of his first child. The then-double champ also spoke on the desire for a better contract, specifically one that included a stake in the UFC. Perhaps most importantly, he reiterated his wishes to hold on to both titles and defend them, and perhaps even seek out a third championship. He was adamant in the lead up to the fight that the UFC would have to “bring an army” to take one of the belts away from him.

Since being stripped of the featherweight belt, Conor has yet to publicly comment, which comes as a surprise.

McGregor has already set Twitter ablaze a number of times with emphatic and authoritative Tweets, including his pump fake on retirement in April. Since the announcement of the UFC’s actions this past week, the MMA world has been waiting patiently for a Tweet from “@TheNotoriousMMA” to show up on their timeline with another compelling statement.

Perhaps, in lieu of taking to social media, McGregor took to the CSAC to apply for a boxing license to get the UFC’s attention. If his intentions were to ruffle the feathers of the UFC brass, it may prove to be effective. Ultimately, however, while under contract with the UFC, McGregor’s promotional rights in combat sports are theirs and theirs alone. For Conor to step inside of the boxing ring, he would need the blessing of the UFC, which is likely to be very reluctant to put their biggest star on loan for a potentially damaging endeavor. If the matchup in question is indeed against Floyd Mayweather, the amount of money at stake could be record breaking, but at what potential cost to the UFC?

If McGregor becomes licensed in the state of Nevada, things could get interesting, because Las Vegas is the only place Floyd Mayweather would consider stepping into the ring. Regardless of how many times Mayweather has been on record, stating that he is done with fighting in recent months – money is Floyd’s second language, and he certainly has been keen on making the fight happen in the past.

For now, take the news of McGregor becoming a licensed boxer as just that – an accepted application. When the UFC Lightweight Champion breaks his silence, we’ll have a better understanding of his boxing licensure motives.

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Who will Conor McGregor fight next in the UFC?

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Conor McGregor has announced via Instagram that he intends to return to fighting and he even revealed that he had offered to replace the injured Max Holloway in the main event of UFC 222.

He did say however that the UFC rejected the opportunity to have him headline against Frankie Edgar as he was told “there wasn’t enough time to generate the money that the UFC would need”.

With his return seemingly imminent and an already proposed fight with Frankie Edgar falling through here’s a look at the men who could be standing across the cage from the “Notorious One” upon his return to the octagon.

Frankie Edgar

Let’s start with the man McGregor claims he was ready to fight next month, Frankie Edgar.

It’s a fight that has been rumoured and talked about for years now, but has always failed to become a reality and right now I believe each mans future lies elsewhere.

Although I believe Edgar would choose a fight with McGregor over a title fight with Holloway, his next bout should finally be for the real featherweight title, providing he beats Ortega at UFC 222. McGregor on the other hand, is unlikely to want the Edgar fight now given the much more lucrative options at his disposal.

If you’re a fan still clinging to hope that you will one day see this match up, I hate to break it to you but the only place you’ll be seeing this match up anytime soon is on UFC 3.

Likelihood: 2/10

The winner of Ferguson vs Khabib

If UFC 223 goes as planned then we will see a new UFC Lightweight champion. It means Conor McGregor will be without a belt for the first time since December 2015 and it would be no surprise to see him want his belt back instantly.

As a competitor the winner of this fight represents the best the division has to offer. As a businessman the winner of this fight represents the best the division has to offer.

It is the fight that makes sense, but as we know, sense doesn’t always prevail in the UFC. But, the winner of this bout being the next to face McGregor, is a real possibility.

Likelihood: 9/10

Max Holloway

Conor McGregor is no longer the man at featherweight, Max Holloway is.

Does that hurt McGregor’s ego? Maybe. There has been a lot more activity on McGregor’s social media channels about his fight with Holloway. Most notably the “I miss those sunglasses” post. Which certainly has a hint of jealousy to it. Perhaps McGrgeor wants to remind fans of what he can do at featherweight?

Although I think McGregor’s days at featherweight are pretty much over, I don’t think it’s beyond the realms of possibility that we see this fight at lightweight. But I don’t believe this fight is next for either man.

Likelihood: 4/10

Nate Diaz

Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor have both announced their comebacks in quick succession of each other. Could it mean they’re coming back for a fight this summer? Who knows.

But one things for sure, the trilogy fight will happen. It has the potential to be even bigger than the first two fights and will surely bring in a boat load of cash. Enough to motivate the two rivals to meet in the octagon again.

The fight seems inevitable and it has every chance of being the next fight for McGregor.

Likelihood: 9/10

Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Floyd Mayweather UFC

Mayweather Jr. in the octagon has been teased since before his boxing match with Conor McGregor and the ongoing speculation seems never ending.

But it’s wishful thinking to believe that Mayweather Jr. will repay the favour to McGrgeor by competing in his sport.

This sport has taught us to never say never and many of us would have never envisioned McGregor competing in boxing, but here we are. But this is just a whole new level of unlikely.

Likelihood: 0/10

 

 

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Dana White gives an update on the lightweight title picture

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When it comes to the lightweight division there is always a lot of talk with very little clarification. But now it seems Dana White has had enough of waiting for champion Conor McGregor and plans to move on in his absence.

“The Notorious” Conor McGregor won the UFC lightweight title back in November 2016 at UFC 205 where he became the first fighter to hold two belts simultaneously, however, he has not competed in MMA since.

Speaking on Sunday night’s after UFC Fight Night St. Louis UFC President Dana White said “Conor has said he is thinking about coming back in September if he comes back in September that’s almost two years, that can’t happen. It’s not fair to everybody else. Love Conor, respect Conor, love everything he’s done for this company, everybody knows that I say it all the time. The belt would have to move on.”

White also spoke about the two men that would fight for the lightweight belt saying “You do Khabib versus Tony, we’re working on that fight now and if and when Conor comes back he would get the first crack at the title.”

Then when presenter Karyn Bryant pushed for clarification and asked: “So you’re saying that Conor could possibly be stripped of his title?” Dana responded without hesitation “absolutely”.

The news will excite UFC fans across the globe who have been clamoring for the Ferguson vs Khabib matchup which they have been denied on three separate occasions. No date was confirmed for the potential matchup but rumors have been circulating that the UFC is targeting UFC 223 in April.

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Conor McGregor reacts to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s win at UFC 219

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On Saturday night the world watched as Khabib Nurmagomedov dismantled the striking expert Edson Barboza at UFC 219. The reactions were filled with praise for the undefeated Russian fighter. Media members and fans alike were calling Nurmagomedov one of the best lightweights in the world, but there is one man the world was waiting to hear from, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor. McGregor was silent following the fight between Nurmagomedov and Barboza, that is until Monday morning when he took to Twitter to state his opinion about the Number one contender.

“Truly truly truly get on your fucking knees and beg me,” McGregor wrote on Twitter.  “Otherwise, I don’t give a bollox.  My whiskey is out this year and that’s Diddy bread.” The whiskey that McGregor is referring to is his very own grand that he announced would be coming out following his loss to Floyd Mayweather this past August.

Rumors about McGregor’s return have ranged from him retiring from fighting to live a life of wealth with his family, to expect his return to the UFC this summer. No one really knows if McGregor will ever defend his UFC lightweight belt, but if he is to do so UFC President Dana White has said that it will be against interim champion Tony Ferguson.

Ferguson was also seeking a fight with Nurmagomedov prior to winning the interim belt against Kevin Lee. It is entirely possible that we will see these two battle for the interim title in the octagon before we see the return of Conor McGregor. Of course, these days there are no guarantees in regards to title contention, McGregor and his camp have publically stated that they would like to face Nurmagomedov in his home country of Russia. 

 

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