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Morning Report: Dana White addresses Conor McGregor and the state of the UFC lightweight division

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Dana White
Dana White
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Earlier this week, the UFC officially announced that Khabib Nurmagomedov would be defending his belt against interim champion Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi. This weekend, Tony Ferguson and Donald Cerrone are set to face one another in a potential Fight of the Year candidate. But despite all this big lightweight action, the UFC’s best division still revolves around its former champion and massive star Conor McGregor.

McGregor has had an action-packed year so far, getting in Twitter feuds, retiring from fighting, coming back to fighting, having a public standoff with the UFC, and dealing with a number of legal issues. But despite all of this activity, there is still no word on when the things fans most want to see, McGregor back in the cage, will happen again. At this point, it seems inevitable that McGregor will return but the question is when. Well, according to Dana White, it might not be all that soon.

“What did I say leading up to the Mayweather-McGregor fight? [That he may never fight again]. Did I not say that? And how many times has he fought since then? Once,” White told ESPN recently. “Conor is in a very unique position as a fighter. He has tons of money. His whiskey business is off the charts. Conor now has the ability to be very calculated, sit back, and play the game the way he wants to. There’s so much more to this then people speculate. . .

“As far as Pay-Per-Views for the fighters? Not an issue. All these guys are gonna make their money. Believe me. We’re much smarter than that.”

McGregor might not exactly agree with what White is saying. Speculation has been out there that one of the major sticking points to McGregor’s return is the UFC’s new pay-per-view model and how that will effect McGregor’s earnings. Because of move to a strictly digital platform, buy rates could be substantially lower, necessitating more guaranteed money for the superstar. Earlier this year, McGregor once again began pushing for an ownership stake in the UFC. The two sides have seemingly been in a holding pattern since then but with McGregor becoming more and more vocal about a rematch with Nurmagomedov, the tides may be shifting to getting McGregor back soon. After all, earlier this week, UFC President Dana White said that he “absolutely” could see a rematch between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor happening next, and the UFC President is sticking to that.

“Conor 100 percent believes he can beat Khabib,” White said. “He wants the rematch, he feels he deserves the rematch before anybody else. So we’ve got to see how these fights play out. This weekend is a very big, important fight in that whole division and what’s gonna happen. Then in September the Khabib fight will play out in Abu Dhabi. Then we’ll see what’s next.”

That statement has to be a real kick in the pants to Ferguson and Cerrone. Ferguson and Cerrone are facing each other this weekend at UFC 238 and with a win, both men would have very strong cases for a title shot. Ferguson in particular would be getting snubbed as “El Cucuy” is currently on an 11-fight win streak, including taking home an interim title he was subsequently stripped of. But despite Ferguson’s unprecedented run of success, even if he wins White is not ready to commit to him getting the next title shot.

“I can’t say that’s gonna happen,” White said. “Anything is possible. I don’t know who is gonna come out of that fight banged up, what’s gonna happen to them, and everything else, so we’ll see.”


MUST-READ STORIES

Results. Emiliano Sordi knocked out Vinny Magalhaes at PFL 14.

Running. Tony Ferguson says ‘Khabib and Conor can only run for so long’.

Us too. Donald Cerrone wishes his fight against Tony Ferguson at UFC 238 was five rounds.

Cringe. Marlon Moraes: ‘It’s easy to get the support from the crowd when you’re fighting Henry Cejudo’.

Missed Fists. The best highlights from the previous week in MMA.


VIDEO STEW

A retrospective on Kimbo Slice.

Embedded 4.

The story of the UFC’s octagon girls.

Dana on TMZ.

Anatomy of UFC 238.


LISTEN UP

Vivisection. Breaking down the biggest fights at UFC 238.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

The UFC 238 show opening.

Call out.

Incredible.

Bellator signing an 0-1 pro fighter with a 4-3 amateur career. Wonder why.

Durinho heading to ADCC.

Congrats!


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Ed Ruth (6-1) vs. Kiichi Kunimoto (20-7-2); Bellator 224, July 12.

Kiefer Crosbie (6-0) vs. Jonathan Gary (13-11-2); Bellator 224, July 12.


TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

2008: Thiago Alves knocked out Matt Hughes in the main event of UFC 85.

2009: Mike Thomas Brown successfully defended his WEC featherweight title, winning a five-round unanimous decision over Urijah Faber at WEC 41. In the co-main event, Jose Aldo knocked out Cub Swanson with a flying knee eight seconds into the bout, securing his shot at the title.


FINAL THOUGHTS

UFC 238 is one of the best cards of the year, top to bottom. Enjoy it and see y’all on Monday.


EXIT POLL

Poll

Who wins tomorrow?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    Cejudo
    (532 votes)
  • 67%
    Moraes
    (1116 votes)
1648 votes total Vote Now

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