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Morning Report: Donald Cerrone says Conor McGregor jumping Justin Gaethje for a title shot ‘financially makes sense’ for the UFC

Donald Cerrone
Donald Cerrone
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

We are currently amidst of one of the longest UFC droughts in recent memory. Last weekend, the UFC held its final event of the year, UFC Busan, and there won’t be another UFC event for almost one full month. Fortunately, that event is UFC 246 where Conor McGregor will make his return to the octagon against Donald Cerrone and, will nearly a month of nothing else going on, the MMA world will have plenty of time to dig into every facet of discussion heading into the bout. Case in point: what a win for Conor McGregor might mean.

Though McGregor’s fight with Cerrone will be fought at the welterweight limit, UFC President Dana White has already said that a victory for McGregor may well get him the next shot at Khabib Nurmagomedov (should Nurmagomedov defeat Tony Ferguson when the two finally fight in April). It was a proclamation that stirred many the wrong way. After all, McGregor was soundly defeated by Nurmagomedov and a win over Cerrone would be his first inside the cage in over three years - and at a different weight class. But no one was more upset than Justin Gaethje.

Gaethje is the man presumably waiting in the wings to face the winner of Khabib vs. Ferguson, having won three in a row at lightweight, all over contenders and all by first-round knockout. From a purely meritocratic standpoint, Gaethje should have winners. But it doesn’t always happen that way and McGregor’s future opponent (coincidentally the last man to face Gaethje as well) says that’s just the way the cookie crumbles in this day and age.

“If you’re talking rankings and deserving, sure,” Cerrone told MMA Junkie recently. “If you’re talking popularity and the business side of it and making money, yeah. It’s two different games. The UFC gets to pick and choose and do that they want for what makes financially more sense for them. That’s just what this game has turned into.”

Cerrone speaks the truth. McGregor’s rise to superstardom brought with it a number of changes to the UFC, most notably the organization’s preference for big fights over fights that are arguably more deserving, and no fight would be bigger in 2019 than a rematch between Khabib and Conor. Fortunately though, there may be some hope for the die hard sporting fans of the UFC: Khabib has said he isn’t interested in facing McGregor unless “Notorious” rattles off a serious win streak.

Of course before any of this can come into play, McGregor first has to defeat Cowboy Cerrone. Then, should that come to pass, everyone can start concerning themselves with what’s next for Conor McGregor.


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A day in the dunes with Henry Cejudo and Kelvin Gastelum.

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Woodley’s latest track.


Eurobash. A year-end roundup of the best of Eurobash.

UFC Unfiltered. Interviews with Uriah Hall, Kevin Lee, and Cory Sandhagen.


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Kai Kara-France (20-8) vs. Tyson Nam (18-10-1); UFC Aukland, Feb. 22.

Elizeu Zaleski (20-1) vs. Alexey Kunchenko (21-6); UFC Brasilia, March 14.

Jussier Formiga (23-6) vs. Brandon Moreno (16-5-1); UFC Brasilia, March 14.

Rani Yahya (26-10, 1 NC) vs. Enrique Barzola (16-5-1); UFC Brasilia, March 14.

Veronica Macedo (6-3-1) vs. Bea Malecki (3-0); UFC Brasilia, March 14.

Ronaldo Souza (26-8-1, 1 NC) vs. Uriah Hall (15-9); UFC 249, April 18.


Thanks for reading and see y’all on Monday.



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