Who will be next to challenge Jose Aldo’s Featherweight throne doesn’t appear to be quite as straightforward as it seemed. Most fight fans had resigned themselves to the idea of Conor McGregor getting the next title shot following his impressive 4 fight win streak combined with an even more impressive PR campaign.
Dana even flew McGregor to Brazil for UFC 179 as his guest of honour, clearly to create some more hype surrounding a potential title fight. Then we learn that McGregor’s next fight would actually be in Boston on January 18th against Dennis Siver; a fighter ranked a number of places lower than Conor’s last victim, Dustin Poirier.
Quite a bizarre twist but McGregor insists he is happy with this arrangement and the fight with Siver is just his way of staying active, eliminating another man in the division and earning some more money. The Irishman claims that he is still the number 1 contender and that he would fight Aldo in a football stadium sometime soon in 2015.
But not according to Cub Swanson. Cub announced on his official twitter account that the UFC has assured him the next shot at Aldo as long as he beats Frankie Edgar on November 23rd. Swanson is widely regarded as the fighter most entitled to the number 1 contender slot following 6 straight victories and he was extremely aggrieved at the suggestion McGregor was about to overtake him in the title race. But remember, it wasn’t too long ago Dana said McGregor v Aldo makes more sense because Swanson had already faced Aldo and lost, so why the apparent change of heart from the UFC?
Here’s how I see it:
1) The fight that makes complete financial sense is McGregor v Aldo, but what if Conor loses to Dennis Siver? That would totally derail the Irish juggernaut and Conor would have to start his charm offensive all over again and the UFC miss out on a PPV lottery win.
2) If Cub beats Edgar and gets the title shot then what was the point in dedicating so much time and effort into hyping up McGregor to the Brazilian market ahead of UFC 179?
3) If Cub beats Edgar and doesn’t get a title shot then have the UFC have disregarded sporting integrity and probably some credibility to make a quick buck?
4) If both Cub and McGregor win and Cub gets the next title shot does Conor then take another fight just to “stay active” while he waits his turn?
5) If Cub gets the title shot and actually wins the title, Aldo is surely guaranteed an instant rematch and Conor has to wait even longer.
6) What happens if Frankie beats Cub?
Confused? I am.
The bottom line is that Dana needs to publicly clear up once and for all who gets the next shot at Aldo before this scenario becomes messy. The stakes are too high for the UFC to get this wrong.