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Conor McGregor

McGregor’s First Defense to Come at Croke Park, Should He Capture the Title in July

Derek Bowe

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Few sports have seen the rise of a star reminiscent to the UFC witnessing the ascent of Conor McGregor. His personality is electric and his overall aura is polarizing. The enigmatic figure known as the Notorious one, has a title fight on the horizon slated against one of the sport’s very best in pound-for-pound number two ranked fighter, Jose Aldo. Global promotion has already taken place in the form of an eight-city media tour for the showdown which is set for UFC International Fight Week in Las Vegas. The fight is scheduled for July 11th.

With undoubtedly the biggest fight in featherweight history between the two stars, and arguably the most intriguing matchup this year on the horizon, UFC President Dana White spoke on the possibility of Conor McGregor’s first title defense should he capture the belt from Aldo. The destination is aimed at Croke Park, right in the heart of Dublin, Ireland. Hosting an event in the hometown of the brash Irishman would be music to McGregor’s, and Irish fans ears alike.

A stadium to host a first title defense of a champion would be nothing short of unprecedented though it would be hard pressed to imagine the event would not sell the venue out. With Conor’s popularity on a global scale being enormous, his star power in his own country is something to behold. McGregor is likely the biggest star the country of Ireland has at the moment, and that is saying something.

Some obstacles noted in the preparation of the event are the curfew law of the city which states that any public event held would be expected to conclude prior to 11:00pm local time. Not a terrible problem locally, as nearly all events which start at 7:00pm, the UFC’s standard main card start time, are usually concluded closer to 10:00pm. The problem this could potentially present is domestically in the United States. This would mean that the event would not start during prime time viewing hours in the United States as Dublin is eight hours ahead. Naturally, peak buy rates have commonly occurred during those stated domestic prime time hours and the pay-per-view company would likely be hard pressed to achieve desired numbers with a main card start time at 2:00pm Atlantic time, and 11:00am standard Pacific time.

Then again, this is Conor McGregor we are speaking of. This man can sell an event of him planting daisies if required to, and it would be likely to have its share of viewers on the edge of their seat. McGregor simply has the “it” factor. UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta compared Conor’s promotional ability and charisma to that of boxing legend, Muhammed Ali. A lofty, yet hard to deny comparison. If anyone can sell out a stadium, the UFC has placed their hopes on the right horse to win the race. Conor McGregor is on the fringe of international superstardom.

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Conor McGregor

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

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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Conor McGregor has ‘Every intention of fighting in 2018’

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Despite being inactive since his historic boxing bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August, Conor McGregor is never far from the headlines. Recently his out of cage antics have got people questioning if he’ll ever be back.

Thankfully the UFC lightweight champion appears to have cleared up any rumors about his fighting career.

Speaking to his sponsor Betsafe, the “Notorious” Conor McGregor said “My focus is getting back into the right ring or octagon. 2017 was historic. I have transcended both the sport of MMA and boxing. At this stage of my career, as it has been for the majority of my UFC career, potential opponents must lobby for fights with me. We could see Conor McGregor anywhere. I run the fight game, the fashion game, the whiskey game or whatever the next business endeavor might be”.

McGregor added, “I have every intention of fighting in 2018 if my compensation and business development endeavors accurately reflect my influence on combat sports.”

This comes just two weeks after UFC President Dana White told reporters “Conor might never fight again. The guy’s got $100 (expletive) million. I’ve got guys that made less than that and were lawyers and went to school their whole life and quit working.”

White went on to say “Try to get up and get punched in the face every day when you’ve got $100 million in the bank. Money changes everything with a lot of people.”

White also told reporters that the “Notorious one”, “can’t be paid enough money” and that he is “worth every penny and more.” McGregor’s recent statement suggests he knows that and won’t be back till his demands are met.

The UFC lightweight division has been stalled in the absence of the champion McGregor and now the interim champion Tony Ferguson has undergone surgery. The UFC has been known the remove belts from fighters who have been delayed for extended amounts of time, this would be highly unlikely with the popularity of McGregor.

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