Ever since Jorge Masvidal won the “BMF” belt in late 2019, the explosive fighter’s made it crystal clear he wants Conor McGregor next. The UFC even put a camera on Masvidal during last night’s McGregor vs. Cowboy Cerrone bout, broadcasting Jorge’s salivating chops as McGregor wrecked Cerrone in a victory which insured McGregor could be his next opponent:
But Big Daddy Dana White says that’s not going to be happening, not right now. Reigning undefeated champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who dethroned McGregor in a genuinely hostile matchup back in October 2018, is the UFC’s pick for Conor’s current comeback narrative. Since that loss McGregor’s been in a legal and personal tailspin, living the life of the dysfunctional mogul while Khabib has gone on to become the seriously devoted lightweight king of the UFC with a record of 28-0. Between the fighters’ shared hostility, the massive profit margins from their 2018 fight, and the storyline of a disgraced former champ making a go at the kid who took his title, White and company see Khabib vs. Conor as the most obvious, and financially sound, investment.
“If Conor and Masvidal fight, neither one of them even has a title,” said White at the UFC 246 afterpress event. “Although Conor does want his BMF title. But he doesn’t have a world championship…Khabib’s the fight to make. It’s huge for Khabib’s legacy, too. If he beat Conor McGregor, and then he beats Tony Ferguson, and then he beats Conor McGregor again, this is how this kid when he retires, he’s 30-something and 0 and he’s beat all the best.”
Hours after Conor bloodied Cerrone, the Nurmagomedov camp threw out their terms for a rematch. “Give us $100 million,” Khabib’s father Abdulmanap told Russian news outlets, though perhaps not in all seriousness. Khabib defends his title against Tony Ferguson in April.
Not that Masvidal has no other options besides Conor. He and Kamaru Usman have been going at it for months.
“Everybody wants to fight Conor,” White said about his BMF’s desire to take on The Notorious One. “Everybody’s wanted to fight Conor for the last however many years. When you look at what makes sense, we’re at a place where Conor was saying going into the Khabib fight, he had a lot of personal stuff, some stuff self-inflicted. He had injuries and he had all these things going on, and he has been obsessed with getting that rematch because he knows that he wasn’t 100 percent right.”
We’ll see what happens.