UFC superstar Conor McGregor retired over the weekend, but nobody who follows the sport seems to have taken the Irishman all that seriously. After all, the 31-year-old from Dublin, Ireland, has retired a total of three times over the last four years, and he’s come back to the UFC’s Octagon every single time.
Still, ESPN’s Max Kellerman had the perfect suggestion for making McGregor and another UFC star happy again, and the famed host of “First Take” even went so far as to share his plan with UFC president Dana White during a recent segment on the show.
“The fight I’m dying to see, because of the styles, because he’d be the underdog, but I think it would bring out the best in him, is for him to go up at this point and take on [Jorge] Masvidal,” Kellerman said.
You can watch the segment below.
Why Kellerman’s Plan is Perfect
Kellerman’s plan is perfect because it would get both stars active in the sport again, and they would combine to produce quality action.
Indeed, when the Bleacher Report MMA crew did its fantasy draft during quarantine for our make-believe “FIght Island” cards, your favorite Heavy MMA writer (me) picked McGregor vs. Masvidal with the first overall pick in the draft because I “wanted the most violent striking contest possible” and because the UFC’s current King of Swag (Masvidal) checked all the other boxes, too.
So maybe great minds think alike? Kellerman shared similar reasons for suggesting the fight should happen in real life.
“Big personalities. Both aggressive. Both strikers. I would love to see that fight,” Kellerman said.
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White: ‘Anything Is Possible’
White didn’t immediately shoot Kellerman’s idea down, though he’s said several times in the past that he believes Masvidal is a little too big for McGregor.
“Listen, anything is possible…,” White said.
Still, White reiterated that McGregor’s sole focus right up until his sudden retirement last week was facing Khabib Nurmagomedov again in a rematch. Nurmagomedov submitted McGregor in the fourth round at UFC 229 in October 2018, but McGregor has long coveted a second chance at the lightweight champ.
But with Nurmagomedov busy for the rest of the year and nothing on the horizon for McGregor that interested him enough to keep training, the first-ever UFC “champ champ” chose to retire from the sport instead.
Regardless, White believes McGregor is on the right path right now even if the UFC star is calling it “retirement” at the present.
“I think the best thing for Conor to do right now is what he’s doing, sitting back, spend time with his family, stay in shape and see how this thing plays out,” White said.
And when McGregor comes back, assuming he does as most expect him to do based on recent history, White suggests McGregor might still be in line for a shot at Nurmagomedov.
That, or maybe he ends up fighting Masvidal anyway.
“He can go for a shot at the [lightweight] title, and he can always fight Masvidal…that fight’s not going anywhere,” White said.
UFC Fans Want McGregor vs. Masvidal
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani also suggested McGregor vs. Masvidal might be the next best option for both fighters right now.
Moreover, according to the social media poll Helwani ran over the last day, 85% of UFC fans seem to think so, too.
Haven’t seen this brought up recently, so here goes:
Now that Conor McGregor and Jorge Masvidal are without a dance partner, should the UFC just go ahead and book McGregor vs. Masvidal next and ASAP?
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) June 10, 2020
That’s an overwhelming majority.
So McGregor vs. Masvidal might remain a longshot superfight, but it appears at least there’s beginning to be some momentum in the MMA community about the fight that could combine with the current landscape of the UFC to help turn the fight from fantasy to reality.
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