Chael Sonnen may not have entirely liked the year Conor McGregor had in 2021, but “The American Gangster” still believes McGregor is an extremely capable and dangerous opponent, especially for the current UFC lightweight champion.
Last year, Charles Oliveira won the vacant UFC lightweight title with a comeback victory over Michael Chandler at UFC 262; however, the nature of the win and the fact that he did not defeat the top-ranked lightweight in the world at the time – Dustin Poirier – to claim the vacant belt, left many fans questioning the validity of Oliveira’s title. “Do Bronx” silenced those critics last month though when he submitted Poirier at UFC 269, cementing himself as the top active lightweight in the world right now. Next up for the champ would ostensibly be a clash with Justin Gaethje, but following his victory over Poirier, Oliveira said he would happily allow McGregor to jump the line for a title shot, something McGregor himself has already started angling for. But Sonnen believes Oliveira should be careful what he wishes for.
“If there’s anybody that Conor is likely to beat to become the world champion, it is the sitting champion, right now,” Sonnen said on his YouTube channel. “Charles Oliveira-Conor McGregor is a fascinating matchup. It is very problematic for Oliveira. Conor McGregor is as good of a striker as this sport has ever seen. Oliveira is a very dynamic striker who showed some real wrestling prowess in a couple of contests but in other contests didn’t.
“Conor can handle himself on the ground. Conor can take care of himself on the feet. The in-between has been a problem with very high-level guys. So now you start to have a question of, is Oliveira a really high level guy? Is he that high enough of a level guy? I don’t have the answers to these questions. I’m just sharing for you, however this goes, the fans are going to get something very special.”
What the fans will end up getting remains to be seen. Though Oliveira and McGregor both want the fight, McGregor is still currently recovering from snapping his leg against Dustin Poirier in their trilogy fight, and isn’t expected to return to action until late spring, or early summer. That’s a long time to for the UFC to shelve the title in one of its deepest weight classes, and UFC President Dana White has already suggested that Gaethje makes sense as the next contender for Oliveira. But, as Sonnen points out, the combination of the champion’s wishes and the UFC’s bottom line could change things over the next few months.
“If Justin was in the same position, what would Justin do?,” Sonnen said. “Would Justin go for the big money fight or would Justin pay attention to the integrity and adhere to that of the rankings? Justin would go for the big money fight. Now, Justin would give this other guy an opportunity too, he’s just gonna have to wait an extra three months. … What the champion wants does matter, particularly when it lines up with the biggest star in the sport. If the champion wants what the biggest star in the sport wants, it makes sense that you can bring these things together.”
For what it’s worth, Gaethje has said that should he win the title, McGregor will not be afforded a title fight unless he earns his way back to it, a sentiment that makes sense as McGregor is 1-3 in his last four outings since winning the title back in 2016.
Banger. Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway 3, Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan 2 booked for UFC 272.
Beef. Tommy Fury calls for ‘unfinished business’ with Jake Paul, says Tyron Woodley rematch was ‘worst six rounds of boxing’ he’s ever watched.
Refund. Derrick Lewis explains why he wants to fight Stipe Miocic next: ‘I can get my fans their money back from the Ciryl Gane fight’.
Rankings. Conor McGregor drops out of top 15, Sean O’Malley makes his debut in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings.
The MMA Hour.
Top 10 Heavyweight Submissions in UFC history.
Movlid Khaybulaev’s run to win the PFL Championship.
Kamaru Usman in Nigeria, continued.
Arnold Allen weight training with his dad.
MMA Fighting’s Rankings Show. The first rankings show of the new year brings big changes.
Jake Paul update.
Dana White claimed my fights are fixed and THEN claimed I’m on steroids… So I’m on steroids to win fights that are already fixed for me to win? Sounds logical…
— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) January 5, 2022
Fakemaster is looking for another fake excuse. Stop crying and start hiding pathetic mouse. The hunting season is officially open https://t.co/8YgWAkPNQc
— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) January 5, 2022
Finally! I heard dirty rats are fair game this season. Sign the contract and let hunting begin, you ripe potato-looking in the face ass https://t.co/GUmpCVzzqT
— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) January 5, 2022
Running it back.
I don’t think Nate wants to face DP
— Diego Sanchez UFC (@DiegoSanchezUFC) January 5, 2022
Pulling it off pretty well.
Alexander Volkanovski (23-1) vs. Max Holloway (23-6); UFC 272, Mar. 5.
Aljamain Sterling (20-3) vs. Petr Yan (16-2); UFC 272, Mar. 5.
Drew Dober (23-11, 1 NC) vs. Ricky Glenn (22-6); UFC Fight Night, Mar. 12.
Montel Jackson (11-2) vs. Danaa Batgerel (10-2); UFC Fight Night, Mar. 26.
Nikolas Motta (12-3) vs. Drakkar Klose (11-2-1); UFC Fight Night, Apr. 16.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
Does Conor McGregor get a lightweight title fight upon his return?
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