Mystic Mac Weekly: (Conor McGregor) Hype Machine #3

Someone, at least we know it's someone.

Someone, at least we know it's someone.

Fight week folks and all you gotta do to get in the Mystic Mac zone is watch this:

I don't know how often I'll be able to offer some different Mystic Mac angles this week but I'm frothing, so as long as I have different angles to explore, expect plenty of content. As this is coming early in the week and I really want to enjoy the last few days of fight week and the fight itself in a bubble, I'm going to get the 'What's Nek' for Conor McGregor out of the way.

And that's not because there's less intrigue here, I'm going down this route because from a UFC or Mystic Mac perspective, the aftermath of Mayweather vs McGregor is just as fascinating as the fight. What we know is that McGregor will return to the UFC and continue his Mixed Martial Arts career. An interesting note that reflects this is the UFC's involvement in representing McGregor and their role in promoting the fight, this isn't McGregor Promotions or a case of McGregor linking up with a boxing promoter for this fight, McGregor has teamed up with the UFC.

The UFC can obviously see the benefits of allowing McGregor to go down this route and they will cash in, both in terms of their slice of the pie and McGregor's star power moving forward. You'd have to assume that the UFC would only align themselves with and support McGregor if there was an understanding that McGregor would remain under the UFC umbrella; the UFC would not support McGregor knowing that McGregor's UFC career was over.

This is a collaboration between McGregor and the UFC, which is damn cool. Any collaboration has to be built on goodwill and trust, even cooler.

Although there's not much from the UFC's perspective that can match the buzz and hype of Mayweather vs McGregor and other than Nate Diaz, there aren't too many fighters who can play their part in a block-buster fight. McGregor has said as much previously and as McGregor is the biggest name in fighting, any UFC fighter who fights McGregor is doing so because that's where the money is. Fighters will want the McGregor action because win or lose, they can legit set themselves up financially solely from a McGregor fight.

Hence the third fight between McGregor and Diaz is an enticing proposition. This rivalry is 1-1 and the competitive aspect aligns perfectly with the business aspect, which is countered by the fact that Diaz is ranked #6 in the lightweight division, so another Diaz fight would have little relevance to McGregor defending his lightweight title belt. 

At some stage, McGregor will need to get back into the swing of the UFC's contender, title fight flow and in getting a rematch against Diaz and now fighting Mayweather, McGregor has drifted away from that flow, dipping back in to fight Eddie Alvarez. McGregor's first fight against Diaz came as Rafael dos Anjos was a late withdrawl, so McGregor has balanced the need to follow the UFC's flow with the big-money fights rather nicely.

Adding a super dose of funk into the mix here is that McGregor has won belts in the featherweight and lightweight division, while also fighting Diaz at welterweight. McGregor never lost the featherweight title, he had it stripped, so he could drop down to fight Max Holloway who defeated Jose Aldo to earn the undisputed featherweight belt. 

McGregor could defend his lightweight belt against Khabib Nurmagomedov who is the top contender in the lightweight division and must surely be somewhere in line given how popular this fight would be. Other than a third fight against Diaz, McGregor vs Nurmagomedov would tick the competitive/big-money fight that McGregor, er, deserves? This fight would go bonkers with Russia vs Ireland raising the international profile of the UFC and this is the fight to keep an eye on if the UFC wants to level-up (as best as they can) from the Mayweather boxing excursion.

You don't want to lose momentum, you want to keep it going and follow the Mayweather boxing bout with as big a UFC fight as you can for McGregor.

We know of Mystic Mac's powers though and he's a diligent planner, so thinking back to McGregor instigating some niggle towards Tyron Woodley has me wondering if McGregor's up to some antics. Woodley is currently the welterweight champion and is as fine a physical specimen as anyone else in the UFC, so for McGregor to willingly prod at Woodley a few times suggests that McGregor would welcome another move up to welterweight.

Woodley is coming off a win over Damian Maia that had fans booing and Dana White a wee bit frustrated. Woodley just did what was required to win, which didn't make for an entertaining fight, so Woodley could get back in the money-making business by taking a fight against McGregor. This would also intrigue McGregor as it would give him a shot at the rather crazy achievement of being champion of three different divisions and as McGregor never lost the featherweight belt, he could in a loose theory lay claim to all three at the same time.

My hunch is that McGregor needs to defend his lightweight belt first and foremost. Should McGregor defend his belt against Nurmagomedov, then he can wait for the next contender to stand out above the crowd and roll down the trilogy with Diaz route, or pick a fight with Woodley. The only thing for certain here is that if White calls anyone offering a fight against McGregor, you'd be fairly chuffed to take it.

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