Conor McGregor, the face of the UFC and ultimately the face of combat sports, has never defended his title throughout his two and a half year reign as the two-division king. That’s a significant problem.
Instead of defending his titles, he’d rather chase fighters in different weight classes. Or as of recently, in different sports. The champion of the world is disinterested in competing with the slew of contenders in the lightweight division, subsequently making McGregor one of the worst champions in the UFC.
Although it is an unpopular opinion, McGregor being considered a bad champion is a statement based on pure reality. He’s not a bad champion in the likes of Germaine De Randamie, however that’s simply due to the fact that McGregor has not willfully vacated his title to avoid a contender. He’s just willfully avoiding top contenders.
One question to consider is that if this were any other champion, say Rose Namajunas for example, would the UFC provide as much leeway as they currently do for McGregor? The answer is likely not. In a way, McGregor does deserve a bit of special treatment. He has helped grow the sport exponentially in ways that no other fighter has done. With that being said, having a champion who does not defend their title is not special treatment – it’s simply bad business.
Should the UFC consider stripping Conor McGregor?
It’s important to understand that there is not significant pressure for McGregor to ever fight again. He has options in professional boxing, WWE, Hollywood and various entertainment opportunities – and after his mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather, McGregor has enough dough for life. The issue is, when you’re like McGregor, you can never have too much dough – and that’s ultimately what he’s chasing. But while McGregor ponders his next financially beneficial move, a group of contenders are impatiently waiting for their shot at UFC gold.
Tony Ferguson, the interim lightweight champion, has been waiting patiently to get his hands on McGregor to unify his title. Furthermore, Khabib Nurmagomedov, who many consider the biggest threat in the lightweight division, just proved his worth at a title shot by demolishing Edson Barboza at UFC 219. It doesn’t end there, as Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier continue to make their case at the top of the division. There are a tremendous amount of options for the UFC and McGregor, however those options are on hold while the champ decides if there is a future for him in the UFC.
Stripping Conor McGregor has nothing to do with being anti-McGregor. It has everything to do with keeping the UFC’s strongest weight class alive. Fighters have been outspoken about their distain of McGregor’s special treatment by the UFC, and it’s only a matter of time until the UFC’s strongest weight class withers away due to mistreating contenders. If McGregor decides to take another boxing fight, or spend his time outside of the octagon, the UFC must consider stripping him from the lightweight title in 2018.
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