Conor McGregor’s inactivity may have seen him drop out of the UFC’s official rankings lists, but that won’t stop the promotion from throwing him straight into a lightweight title fight if the stars align upon his return.
That’s the view of former UFC middleweight champion and UFC analyst Michael Bisping, who said that McGregor has a very good chance of landing an immediate title shot when he’s ready to get back into the octagon.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Bisping set the scene.
“The biggest star in the sport of mixed martial arts has just recently dropped out of the top 15 of the rankings – the lightweight rankings and the pound-for-pound rankings. Of course, I’m talking about Conor McGregor, ‘The Notorious’ one,” he began.
“He’s no longer ranked inside the top 15, but there’s a very good possibility that, even though he’s not ranked, he’s still going to come back and fight for a world title fight upon his return… That’s a situation that we very well might see.
“He’s not going to come back and fight in the UFC any time soon. He’s probably going to return late summer, maybe even early autumn/fall.
“I think there’s a possibility that he comes back and fights for the belt. And I know you’re like, ‘Bisping, you’re crazy1!’ But the UFC puts on the fights that people want to see.”
Aside from McGregor’s pulling power at the box office benefiting the UFC and the paying fans, Bisping pointed out another major beneficiary of a possible McGregor title fight – UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira.
“Let me think, has there ever been a time where somebody, that wasn’t ranked inside the top 15, ever came and fought for a belt?” he pondered.
“Hmmm, yes there has, and I know it very well! It was Georges St-Pierre. He was retired from the sport, he’d been away for four years. He certainly wasn’t f*****g ranked, and he came back and fought me.
“Now, of course, with Georges, he was one of the greatest of all-time, he was a dominant longtime champion and he chose to step away from the sport. But for me, I wanted to fight Georges. I’m a prizefighter, and the prize is money.
“Georges St-Pierre was the biggest prize available to me at that time. Not only a legendary opponent, but in terms of pay-per-view dollars, that’s what we all want. McGregor said it best himself, ‘Red panty night!’
“There is no bigger star, there’s no bigger prize, there’s no bigger or brighter red panties than you can get, than fighting Conor McGregor.
“If you’re Charles Oliveira, coming from the slums of Brazil, from the Favelas, through the hardship, the ups and downs, the adversity that he’s had in his life, and you say to him, ‘Hey, do you want to fight Justin Gaethje – a stone-cold killer. A man with heavy hands, a granite chin, crazy wrestling? Or do you want to fight Conor McGregor – a guy that hasn’t won a fight since 2016, a guy that’s recovering from a broken leg, that hasn’t trained since last year, and by all accounts has ballooned up and looks like a mini Incredible Hulk right now. He’s going to have to lose all that weight to get back down to 155.’
“If I’m Charles Oliveira, I’m picking Conor McGregor all day long. Of course, Justin Gaethje may jump that queue because he wants to fight sooner, and Charles mighty want to fight sooner.
“But, if Charles beats Gaethje, or if that fight doesn’t happen, I think Conor McGregor is gonna be the guy.
“You think I’m crazy, but think about it. The UFC puts on the fights that we want to see. That us, the fans, the buying public, they put on the fights we want to see. And, whether you love him or hate him, there’s no bigger star than Conor McGregor right now.”