It looks like ‘red panty night’ is still a major motivator for the UFC’s top talent.
Conor McGregor hasn’t won a fight since 2020. He hasn’t held a UFC title since 2018, having never defended the belt he won off Eddie Alvarez two years earlier. But, readers wouldn’t know that judging by his box office receipts, something fighters aren’t likely to overlook.
Despite having been largely outside the contender’s circle in the UFC’s lightweight division for the past half decade, Conor McGregor is still a superstar. So much so that, if current lightweight champion Islam Makhachev got the chance to face off against the ‘Notorious’ SBG Ireland talent inside the Octagon with his lightweight title on the line, he wouldn’t hesitate to take it.
“Why not?” Makhachev told the ‘Weighing In’ podcast, when asked if he’d fight McGregor (transcript via Middle Easy). Some fighter have to be stupid for say not. It’s 100% big money fights. Now everybody know he’s not in shape.
“Ass beating, make money, be happy.”
With an upcoming bout against Michael Chandler seemingly in the works for McGregor, it seems a little odd that Makhachev would single the man out for not being in fight shape. But, the Dagestani doesn’t sound like he believes that contest will ever come to fruition.
“I don’t know,” Makhachev said, of whether McGregor would beat Chandler. “They try to make the fight, but it’s not official now. No, I don’t think Conor wants to fight with him, cause he’s drinking too much, smoking all day and he just can’t.”
“TUF makes some interesting thing, cause everybody forget him,” he added. “I don’t know when he fight last time, but if they fight I think it’s gonna be 170. Maybe if you [are] Chandler, they gonna try to push him, make 155. And I know they want to give [McGregor] title choice.”
Adding some fire to the smoke Makhachev is issuing, in a recent interview with Ariel Helwani, McGregor was somewhat evasive when asked when he would be re-entering the USADA testing pool, saying only that “there’s an interview scheduled and a meeting happening,” both claims that the drug testing agency later denied.
McGregor has since claimed that USADA are now “in the bin” and that he would “not be scapegoated,” or made to look like a cheater.
In the meantime, Makhachev is fresh off a successful defense of his belt against featherweight king Alexander Volkanovski. While there was some talk of an instant rematch for the Aussie, it seems more likely that the AKA fighter will be facing one of lightweight’s top contenders next time he steps back in the cage.