27-year-old multimillionaire Conor McGregor just had a wildly publicized confrontation with his billionaire bosses over media duties for his UFC 200 rematch with lightweight Nate Diaz, at welterweight; McGregor lost. There may be another confrontation over who he fights next, and in what division.
There are hints that the UFC next wants ‘Notorious’ to defend his featherweight title against the winner of former champion Jose Aldo vs. former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. That fight, at UFC 200, will be for the Interim featherweight title.
McGregor recently tweeted in no uncertain language that he wants the Diaz rematch next, not a title defense.
“Nobody gives a f*** about these other fights until this one is settled,” he wrote. “Cut the bulls***. Run it back. #RealFight.”
Given that he has put on size for his last fight, at 170, and that he has had a terribly hard time making 145 in the past, there is some question as to whether he will make 145 any more. McGregor was training with friend and teammate Gunnar Nelson at his Mjölnir gym in Reykjavík, Iceland, when the UFC tried to call him away for media duties; Nelson appeared recently on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour and discussed the issue.?
“I think it kind of happened because he really wanted to focus on his training for this fight, and he felt like going over there [to the States] and doing all this media stuff was going to take away from his training,” said Nelson, as transcribed by ?Chuck Mindenhall for MMA Fighting. “And I think that was the reason why he kind of had enough. Like he says, he’s done dancing like a monkey, and he felt like going over there was going to come down on his training. So he decided to retire, and he was retired.
“And then I think he kind of changed his mind and wanted to see if he could come back or make it through whatever was the deal. But I do believe he’s going to come back and fight. When exactly I’m not sure, but maybe 201 or 202. I would definitely put my money on that he’ll be back.”
Nelson was asked if he wanted to see his friend come back at welterweight, or at a lighter division.
“It’s really just up to him, whatever he wants to do,” said Nelson. “I think that 145 is…I know he can go back down and defend his title, no problem. But I just think he doesn’t want to do that cut again. It’s a nasty one, and I agree with him. I understand that. So I think maybe I would like to see him going to the 155 before going all the way up to the welterweight. But you know, he can do whatever he feels like.”
That last statement may become a point of some dispute.