The Human Cash Register has made a sound. It is faint, yet definitive, and is financial music to the ears of the UFC industry. Conor McGregor demands UFC title shot ASAP!
If we want to see a Conor McGregor return to the octagon anytime soon, the UFC will have to give him a shot at the lightweight title for his very first fight back. Fair? Maybe not, but life’s not fair.
Conor McGregor Demands Title Shot On His UFC Return
Conor McGregor, the biggest box-office draw in UFC history, recently tweeted his intention to return in the third quarter of 2022.
“I’m facing whoever the **** has that LW title next. Deal with it.” McGregor stated in one of his most recent Tweets.
And Charles Olivieria is most likely the man McGregor is now eyeing up, especially after he defeated Dustin Poirier at UFC 269 to retain the UFC lightweight championship title.
Who knows if Olivera will still be champ by July 2022. That’s about how long it will take to repair the fractured tibia and fibula on his left leg, sustained during the July 10 loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 264, and resume training.
If all goes well, McGregor will be sparring by April and then simply return whenever the UFC gladly schedules him next summer.
McGregor Brings The CHA-CHING Wherever He Goes
For some people, the world waits. And McGregor, from a marketing standpoint, is one of them.
McGregor has spearheaded five out of the six highest-selling UFC pay-per-view events. His headline bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 drew 2.4 million PPV buys, the most ever for an MMA event.
His 2017 boxing match with Floyd Mayweather attracted 4.3 million PPV buys in North America, the second-most in combat sports history.
McGregor is ranked as the world’s highest-paid athlete according to Forbes in 2021, earning a reported $180 million.
The Irish superstar has leveraged his notoriety in the past decade, branching into lucrative side pursuits. He launched Proper Twelve Whiskey a few years back and sold it in 2021 for $600 million. He’s a major business partner in every event, towering above his peers.
It hardly matters HOW he fights, just THAT he fights.
Whenever he competes, there’s a ripple effect. Arenas make money. Sportsbooks do banner business. The casino site of a McGregor event does astronomical numbers. Adjacent casinos have overflow crowds if they show his fights on their sportsbook screens.
McGregor is an economic engine.
It’s probably time to change his nickname to reflect finance. Perhaps he should not be “Notorious” but “Ching” McGregor to, to be figurative, “God Zillion.” McGregor can’t walk anywhere without stepping on money.
But Conor. McGregor demands title shot as early as July 22. Will the UFC give it to him based purely on his draw, because it will definitely not be performances based?
Fight Stock Dropping
But how many more McGregor fights will we see? He’s in career twilight, having lost four of his last five appearances. That includes two in a row this year to Poirier, whom he had defeated in 2014. Those fights, which were not even for a belt, generated more than 3 million pay-per-view buys combined. They underscore McGregor’s power as a draw.
That doesn’t match his stature as a fighter.
McGregor is not one of the UFC’s top 15 pound-for-pound athletes. Charles Oliveira, who holds the belt in McGregor’s division, is 7th overall.
McGregor is ranked 9th in their division. Under normal circumstances, McGregor would have to wait his turn and proceed up the division rankings before earning another title shot.
But nobody will make “God-zillion” do that. If his terms for return are a title bout, it will likely be arranged.
Conor McGregor Demands Title Shot: WHAT IS LEFT?
The hunger to pay the required price to return from injury varies by fighter.
McGregor certainly doesn’t need the money. He’s a brand even more than he’s a fighter, commanding the megabucks that accompany the revenue generated by the big events. McGregor maximizes his marketing power to obtain top money and opponents want to latch onto him for career-making paydays.
Now with the popularity of sports betting in UFC only growing, his name is worth even MORE.
What can’t be determined is how much the recent losses eat at him. Does he simply enjoy the challenge? Does this multi-millionaire need another dose of combat validation? Does he need to go out on his terms?
The answer to the last question, probably, is yes.
That’s why he’s given the promise of one more push, knowing fans may never stop backing him unless at least another couple of decisive losses ensues.
The MMA community is willing to acknowledge the freakish injury ending his last fight with Poirier. McGregor stepped back on his own ankle moments before the end of round 1 of the third fight. It occurred as both fighters loaded up for an exchange.
The community will overlook Poirier’s control of the third fight prior to the injury. When McGregor returns next year, there will be bells, whistles and mega-money. There will also be a layer of pressure.
McGregor, right now, is a good, not a great fighter. To protect his stratospheric market value, he needs a dramatic win.
Yes, the MMA world will wait for him to heal. And yes, it will support him in the next endeavor.
But the next one, for him, is a big one.
Who Lines Up Against Him?
If McGregor gets a title shot on his first fight back after his injury, Charles Oliveira would be the likely candidate since he is the current LW UFC champion of the world.
Or will they let him try to avenge two losses to Poirier?
Poirier beat McGregor, TWICE, and still doesn’t have the UFC lightweight belt after losing to Oliveira to a rear-naked choke in the second round.
There is momentum and then there’s the BIG M. No other fighter on the planet boasts two victories over the sport’s top cash cow in one year. Poirier accomplished the unlikely feat as a significant underdog in the first bout and as a relative pick-em in the second.
Will it be Oliveira for the LW title?
Oliveira has been on a massive roll, winning 10 in a row since a 2017 loss to Paul Felder.
He has been a submission machine and bettors will look at that as a potential payoff once methods of victory are posted across the books.
The last three fights for Oliveira have been his biggest. In December of 2020, he obtained a strong decision victory over Tony Ferguson. He parlayed that triumph in May, 2021, stopping Michael Chandler in the second round, and of course his most recent title defense victory of Poirier at UFC 269.
When you pull the kind of number Conor pulls, you get to make demands like this. Even if he is coming off two losses in his last two fights to Dustin.