If Dana White had a time machine, he may be using it right now to travel back through history and not let Conor McGregor fight Floyd Mayweather. Why? Because it appears the floodgates are beginning to open for McGregor in the boxing world and White needs to protect his most valuable asset. Late last week rumors swirled regarding a McGregor vs. Manny Pacquiao boxing match after Pacquiao said that negotiations between the two sides had started. In a press conference after UFC Fresno, White shot those rumors down by saying, “That would be weird because he’s under contract with us.” “If that’s true, I will be suing Manny Pacquiao and whoever’s representing him, so I’m assuming that’s not true. Yes, [Conor’s next fight is in the UFC].”
White and McGregor have maintained since the Mayweather/McGregor super fight this summer that McGregor’s next fight would be inside the UFC octagon. Rumored opponents include a trilogy fight with Nate Diaz and a lightweight title unification bout against the interim champion, Tony Ferguson.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I don’t buy into these rumors whatsoever and I don’t believe there is demand for McGregor vs. Pacquiao like there was for Mayweather vs. McGregor. The stars aligned perfectly for that mega-fight which is why the fight happened and why it was successful. Much of that was due to the personalities of the fighters. That formula doesn’t translate outright. The dynamic would not be the same between Manny and Conor like it was with Conor and Mayweather. That dynamic is what sold the fight. With it or something like it totally missing from the equation, the success of the fight would hang in the balance. McGregor’s return to the octagon is bigger news at this point and that should be the push.
MONDAY NEWS NOTEBOOK
–Dana White wants Cub Swanson back with the UFC. Cub Swanson lost to Brian Ortega on Saturday night at UFC Fresno in what was his last contracted fight for the UFC. Heading into that fight, he was on a four-fight winning streak. On Saturday White made it clear that he wanted the veteran back with the company and said, “I yelled up to him, too (from cageside), ‘Let’s get a deal done.’” “Cub’s been around forever, he’s a great kid, and I like him and hopefully we can get something done with him. And I can keep him happy. I want him to be happy, so we’ll see.” Swanson addressed his contract situation as well while speaking to the media and said, “I don’t know.” “It stings, it’s like, it just gets thrown back in your face, ‘Oh, you just don’t win the big ones,’ so it’s like what am I gonna say? I’m sure we’ll negotiate.” “Dana said, ‘Let’s make a deal right now,’ he was outside the cage. But it’s like, do I gotta crawl back and say, ‘OK, I’ll take that deal you offered me that I said ‘no’ to’? So we’ll see. I’m going to enjoy family over Christmas, all that, and try not to be in low spirits because I thought I fought great, I just didn’t get the ending I wanted.”
Heydorn’s Take: Swanson was winning the Ortega fight prior to the choke being locked in. Pretty handily as well. He still has a future in the sport and I hope he does sign a new contract with UFC so that future is realized on the biggest stage possible.
–Brian Ortega respects Frankie Edgar’s earned title shot. Ortega won his featherweight fight on Saturday night in grand fashion with a highlight reel guillotine choke. After the victory, talk immediately turned to what’s next for Ortega. He cooled the hype surrounding a potential title fight by saying, “I’m still trying to figure it out.” “I know Frankie got injured. I’m not sure how long it’ll take to patch him up again. I’m respectful for the shot he’s earned. Hopefully he recovers, he’ll have a speedy recovery and fights Holloway. Hopefully, maybe I’ll get the winner of that. If not, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.”
Heydorn’s Analysis: Ortega can slow play this all he wants, but with that victory, he firmly placed himself into the title picture within his division. I respect Ortega’s respect for Edgar, but you have to jump at opportunities when they are in front of you. If he can finagle a title shot before Edgar, he absolutely should go for it without remorse.
–Brian Ortega earns an extra $100,000 at UFC Fresno. After submitting Cub Swanson in the main event, Brian Ortega took home Performance of the Night and Fight of the Night bonuses to the tune of $100,000. Swanson banked an extra $50,000 for his involvement in the main event Fight of the Night.
–Volkan Oezdemir predicts a first-round knockout for Daniel Cormier at UFC 220. On The MMA Hour, Volkan Oezdemir said that he believes it will take him one round to knockout UFC light heavyweight champion, Daniel Cormier. “It’s gonna be a first-round knockout,” Oezdemir said.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This is going to be a great fight. I’m not picking against Daniel Cormier though. He’s a fighting champion and a champion with a solid history of defending the title. Oezdemir is a different beast and brings intangibles to the contest that Cormier hasn’t faced before, but I’m still siding with history and believe that Cormier will get back in the win column when UFC 220 is in the rearview mirror.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS NEWS: SATURDAY NEWS DIGEST 12/9: Nate Diaz rejects “title fight at any weight class” and teases a move to boxing (w/ Heydorn’s analysis)