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Dear Dana: Give Conor McGregor The Next Title Shot

Dear Dana:


On Saturday night, the UFC put on what is being considered the best fight card in 2014 so far. We had epic comebacks, spectacular returns, back and forth battles and a title fight with a finish. The main card saw 4 of the 5 fights end in a finish, with two rare 3rd round TKO’s.

The most anticipated fight on one of the most well rounded cards of the year was also one of the most one-sided fights, excluding the main event. Conor McGregor outclassed Dustin Poirier from the opening bell to the finish. His stand-up was quick and unpredictable, which lead to Poirier getting knocked down by an awkward punch and finished on the ground.

You have invested a lot of time into the Irish superstar, Mr. White. Unfortunately for McGregor, every fighter above Poirier has outstanding wrestling takedowns and grappling skills. This is why the UFC has to strike while the iron is hot, and give McGregor the winner of Aldo vs. Mendes for the UFC Featherweight Championship.


Jose Aldo has been the only featherweight champion in UFC history, and although his reign has been dominate, he has yet to bring a lot of attention to the division. Aldo has headlined three UFC events, with those events averaging 246,000 buys. For a champion that has been a top pound-for-pound fighter for the last couple of years, these numbers are less than impressive. The reason for these figres is that there hasn’t been a fighter in the featherweight division that has captured the eye of UFC fans and mainstream media.

The division has been around for almost four years, but has yet to find it’s GSP, Brock Lesnar, Chuck Liddell, Chael Sonnen or BJ Penn. All of these fighters brought more attention than there had ever been to the division, and not only displayed their own dominance, but made others in their division bigger draws.

Conor McGregor can do the same for the featherweight division. He can be the Chael Sonnen to Aldo’s Anderson Silva. Aldo is an exciting fighter, but he has yet to have a heated feud that has resulted in high buy-rates and compelling match-ups.

Am I saying that McGregor would beat Aldo? I believe that Aldo would probably get the better of the fighting Irishman. This fight would have one sole purpose, and that would be to sell Aldo as a champion to fight fans and the mainstream media.

Aldo still needs to defeat Chad Mendes at UFC 179 though. If Mendes does capture the championship, then a fight against McGregor would be exactly what the new champion would need to kick-start a great title reign. The two have already had small verbal spats within the last couple of weeks, with McGregor calling Chad “Mini Mendes” during his post-fight speech on Saturday.

Having two English speaking fighters with a grudge, as well as the ability to throw verbal insults, is what the featherweight division needs, and a fight between Mendes and McGregor for the UFC Featherweight Championship would be one of the most anticipated fights of 2015.

A New Face

If you take a look at the top six fighters in the featherweight division, there is not a single fighter that is new to the division or hasn’t already fought and lost to Aldo in a title fight. (Rankings before UFC 178)

It was recently confirmed that Cub Swanson would be fighting Frankie Edgar,  with many believing that the winner will get the next shot at the title. Both fighters have lost to Aldo in the past, though Swanson’s loss was five years ago. Swanson has also lost to Mendes and Ricardo Lamas, two fighters that Aldo has defeated when defending his UFC title.

Edgar has fought twice for a title in just over two years, losing both fights. To grant a fighter his third title fight in as many years with just three victories in non-title fights would just show that the division is out of challengers.

There are only two fighters within the featherweight top 10 who are new to the division rankings and could make a claim for a title shot. One of those guys is Dennis Bermudez, but most would agree that a seven fight win streak doesn’t count for a whole lot unless you have beaten a top five opponent.

That leaves us with McGregor, a 26 year old international fighter who is on a 12 fight win streak (4 UFC win streak). He now holds a win over a top five ranked opponent (#5 Poirier), has never fought Aldo or Mendes and has yet to fight for a UFC Championship.

From December 2012 to February 2013, the UFC held 8 title fights in which the competitors had already fought. Every current champion has fought or has been scheduled for a rematch against a fighter they have beaten.

There have been way too many rematches, and the UFC is in desperate need of new stars. The featherweight division can wait for McGregor to have his shot at the title if it means more exposure to the division and higher buy-rates for featherweight title fights.

Dana, I know that you are in love with the hype McGregor has brought to the division. Before he losses to one of the elite wrestlers in the division, you should capitalize on the opportunity. Give McGregor the next shot at the UFC Featherweight Championship. If he losses, then the man who beats him will receive a much needed boost in attention.

If he wins, then we can start having the conversation about how McGregor could be the next Georges St-Pierre or Brock Lesnar

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