UFC icon and current analyst Michael Bisping believes Conor McGregor should consider a “tune-up fight” before engaging in his trilogy fight with Dustin Poirier. Bisping believes renewing an old rivalry with Nate Diaz would be the perfect warm-up act for McGregor before a crack at Poirier at the back end of next year.
McGregor first suffered defeat in the UFC at the hands of Diaz in 2016, before gaining revenge at UFC 202 by a majority decision. A trilogy bout with Diaz would be the perfect way for the Irishman to “get [his] whistle wet” and “blow off that ring rust” ahead of any Poirier rematch. The McGregor vs Diaz rematch at UFC 202 became the highest-selling pay-per-view (PPV) UFC event in history, attracting 1.65 million subscribers. Therefore, it’s clear the PPV interest would certainly be resurrected when McGregor is hopefully fit from his broken leg next summer.
Could McGregor consider locking horns with Justin Gaethje?
McGregor has also been heavily linked with a fight against fellow lightweight Justin Gaethje: the pair have been trash-talking one another for many months on social media. Locking horns with Gaethje ahead of his winner-takes-all fight with Poirier in late 2022 could be a useful tonic for the Irishman.
However, Gaethje has publicly ruled out the match-up, claiming there is “zero chance” of him allowing McGregor a fight after McGregor snubbed a previous opportunity and opted to fight Donald Cerrone instead of Gaethje in January 2020. This was a decision that Gaethje deemed to be cowardly on McGregor’s part.
Nevertheless, Gaethje has plenty on his hands to conclude the year, with a match-up against Michael Chandler slated for November 7th, 2021. https://espn.co.uk/ revealed that Gaethje had agreed on a new contract extension with UFC president Dana White ahead of announcing this bout.
The 32-year-old American has 22 wins in 25 MMA fights, as stated by http://ufcstats.com/, with his most recent defeat coming at the hands of Khabib Nurmagomedov in their UFC Lightweight Championship bout. The former Bellator Lightweight Champion, Michael Chandler, will be a stiff test of Gaethje’s resolve after suffering the first submission loss of his MMA career.
The leading sportsbooks, including the likes of https://winners.net/, believe he will go into the contest as the pre-fight favorite. Presently, Bet365, which is listed first in the rankings, prices Gaethje as the odds-on favorite with stakes of -175. Winners are renowned as one of the most comprehensive comparison portals of sports and eSports bookmakers across the globe as well as the fast-growing US marketplace. It’s worth keeping an eye on the odds as the countdown to the bout continues: anything could happen.
Will McGregor tough it out in UFC or go down the PPV exhibition route?
A win over Chandler would surely see the speculation ramp up once again about a potential bout with McGregor next year. However, Bisping said on his Believe You Me podcast, hosted at https://gasdigitalnetwork.com/, that he “wasn’t sure if [McGregor] wants to come back” into the UFC fold. The Irishman’s appetite for the sport has been called into question on multiple occasions in recent years and his latest injury will do little to feed his desire to get back into the Octagon.
British boxing promoter Eddie Hearn also believes McGregor should consider YouTube sensation-turned-boxing-pro Jake Paul as a credible opponent. Paul has won all four of his professional fights, with his most recent coming against former UFC star Tyron Woodley. Although Paul vs McGregor would be another PPV success, going down the exhibition route would surely signal the end of the Irishman as a serious contender for UFC championships.