UFC superstar Conor McGregor suddenly has a new rival on his hands, and that 170-pound potential foe wants to know why the Irish superstar has been so quiet over the last few days after being offered a welterweight title shot against Kamaru Usman.
The Nigerian-born American Usman wants to know the answer to that question, and the 33-year-old also revealed a personal theory as to why McGregor is suddenly unwilling to trade barbs with him on social media.
“Why is Conor quiet?” Usman asked in a video interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that was posted by ESPN on Tuesday afternoon.
“Who says no to a title shot? I’ve never seen this in history where, who says no when the champ says come and get your title shot? Unless you know you have no chance in hell of winning, that this might change…the landscape of your fighting career ever.”
Usman believes the real reason McGregor hasn’t responded to the public offer he received to fight Usman over Memorial Day weekend from the welterweight champ’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, as well as the shade Usman threw about the topic via Twitter the following Monday might be because McGregor doesn’t believe he can beat Usman.
“That’s the only chance I can see, people saying ‘you know what, I’m a pass on that title shot right now,” Usman said.
You can watch the entire segment below.
"Conor's quiet now. Why is Conor quiet? Who says no to a title shot?"@USMAN84kg sees McGregor as a worthy title challenger, but is surprised by his silence 🤫 (via @bokamotoESPN) pic.twitter.com/6XQpxgK2o5
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) May 26, 2020
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McGregor Remains Unbooked for Next Fight
Neither Usman nor McGregor have booked their next fights yet.
Before UFC 249, McGregor seemed on his way to facing Justin Gaethje next. However, Gaethje’s stunning victory over Tony Ferguson earlier this month netted the American the interim title belt at 155 pounds as well as the “100%” guaranteed next crack at UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Now, McGregor seems to be sitting on the sidelines without what most pundits would observe to be his top two opponent choices available: Nurmagomedov and Gaethje.
Might that somehow lead McGregor to accept the offer to fight Usman next? As noted by the welterweight champ, McGregor hasn’t revealed that just yet.
Usman’s Options Also Keep Dwindling
But Usman is in a similar boat.
The UFC welterweight champion has long been linked to BMF champ Jorge Masvidal for Usman’s next title defense, but it seems now as if Masvidal is more interested in a rematch against Nate Diaz instead.
Usman also revealed to ESPN on Tuesday his thoughts about Masvidal’s pivot away from Usman and toward Diaz.
Jorge Masvidal has been teasing a rematch with Nate Diaz and @USMAN84kg has some thoughts on why that is 👀
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) May 26, 2020
“The guy that you kinda just beat, playing around, you thought that’s a better fight for you? Why is that a better fight than being champion of the world?”
Usman draws the same conclusion about Masvidal that he does about McGregor.
“Oh, because you know the champ of the world is going to beat the sh*t out of you,” Usman said.
But the truth of the matter is that Masvidal not seeking a title shot against Usman next leaves the 170-pound champ without his best and most logical next opponent.
On top of that, Masvidal vs. Diaz 2 would tie up the next most likely opponent candidate for McGregor (Diaz) for the foreseeable future, and could in a strange way help make Usman’s desired superfight against McGregor become a reality.
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