Two Irishmen sat on stage at last month’s ‘Go Big’ press conference. The first was the outspoken Conor McGregor who has quickly become the most talked about fighter in the organisation. The second was the quiet and humble Joseph Duffy, the last man to give McGregor the taste of defeat.
As McGregor worked his way through picking a fight with almost every fighter on the stage, Duffy sat in silence and smiled ( to some of McGregor’s comments). Out of every fighter on the stage Duffy was the only one who could have potentially shut up McGregor with a reminder that he has beaten him before, however, he chose to not to.
McGregor labelled Duffy ‘a spin-off of his name’ and his fight against Dustin Poirier as ‘building up other shmucks to make a fight with him’. Duffy in the other hand took the conservative approach that day saying ‘ My job is to fight and that is what I will continue to do and beat people’. This is where Joseph Duffy may have people divided with this approach.
While keeping quiet and not returning fire, people have warmed and jumped on the side of Duffy. They see a fighter who isn’t trash talking to get noticed. They are well aware of Duffy’s fighting abilities and feel his talking is done inside the octagon. People could also see his reluctance to get into a verbal spat as being very mentally strong. Even when pressed for a response Duffy praised his rival but also said he would win without getting personal. Speaking on a recent MMA Roasted podcast he stated ‘Obviously Conor’s doing well, he’s brought a lot of attention to the sport but I think he is starting to get on people’s nerves a wee bit now. I think it is time now for a new Irish fighter to come through now’. He continued to say “I believe he’s great, but I just feel like I am better. [In a rematch] I would beat him. I think it would be pretty similar to be honest.”
There is, however, some who see Duffy’s failure to respond to McGregor’s jibes as a weakness. The ‘Go Big’ press conference was where ‘Irish’ Joe missed his chance. While people sat in front of McGregor’s barrage of answers, call outs and just about everything, Duffy took a back seat. Donald Cerrone tried and failed, Chad Mendes had a go to no avail, Rafael Dos Anjos the same. Jose Aldo tried his best, but with pulling out of the previously scheduled fight with McGregor, he has to accept that McGregor was always going to use that to his advantage.
However, Duffy has beaten McGregor before within half a minute of the first round. He has one up on him, but in people’s eyes could be scared to get embroiled in a full on verbal war with McGregor. ‘The Notorious’ has mentally broken all his opponents well before the walk to the octagon. At a recent media event in Las Vegas, McGregor didn’t hold back.“He was Welsh Joe, then he was London Joe, now he’s Canadian Joe, then he sees my success and now all of a sudden he’s Irish Joe,” said McGregor. “I’d love to see him climb up and I will KO him stiff, just for the way this has all played out.” He continued to say,“He loses the Cage Warriors lightweight belt and quits the sport, blames a broken hand, moves countries, changes teams, changes sports. Then sees my success, my hard work. When I faced defeat, I put my head down and I grinded it and became a two-weight world champion in Cage Warriors and a UFC featherweight world champion. When he faced defeat he quit the sport and ran. Then he sees my success and my hard work and my drive and my dedication, and he decides to shave a shamrock in his head and calls himself Irish Joe and come back.” Duffy’s inability to come back to those strong words and huge personal attack on his career may have given the perception that McGregor is indeed one up on him this time round.
Another Irish rival to McGregor must be music to the UFC’s ears. Dana White’s recent comments suggests also Duffy is a threat to McGregor’s throne. “I don’t even point to Duffy beating Conor because they fought a long time ago when they were younger,” White told UFC.com “I look at Duffy now. Duffy today is a well-rounded, explosive finisher – a guy whose stand up is literally perfect.” He continued to say “To do Croke Park, we’re going to need Conor and Duffy to do that one,”
A potential fight in Croke Park between both the fighters could potentially be the biggest fight audience the UFC will see to date.The Irish fans back their fighter’s and having both pitted against each other would be huge. Either way you look at this, it is setting up a rivalry that not many fans across the world would have imagined a couple of years ago. Two Irishmen going face to face to be not only the King of their own native country but also the world.
Who will Conor McGregor fight next in the UFC?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
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.
Dana White gives an update on the lightweight title picture
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”.
"Conor has said he's thinking about coming back in September. If he comes back in September, that's almost two years…that can't happen." — @danawhite
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) January 15, 2018
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.
Conor McGregor reacts to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s win at UFC 219
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.
That Dagestani was dog shit the other night you's are all nuts. Game full of sloppy bums asking to be slept. Pay me my worth and Kings back.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) January 1, 2018
Truly truly truly get on your fucking knees and beg me. Otherwise I don't give a bollox.
My whiskey is out this year and thats Diddy bread.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) January 1, 2018
“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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