Now the dust has settled on UFC 216, all the attention is now on what’s next for the winners, especially the new Interim Lightweight Champion Tony Ferguson.
Of course his plans depend on one man, Conor McGregor. Despite not being in the arena his presence loomed large in Las Vegas.
When McGregor was the UFC Featherweight Champion he held the division up for nearly a year, while he did his thing, he never defended his belt, and the UFC eventually stripped him of that belt not long after he beat Eddie Alvarez to become a two weight UFC Champion.
When McGregor became the UFC Lightweight Champion in November 2016, he’s been allowed to do his thing again, he still hasn’t defended his title nearly a year later.
As talented and as big as McGregor is, if he wants to be and remain a UFC Champion, there are obligations that come with it.
Most pundits would agree he must defend his belt before he does anything else, and defend against the top contender, that contender is Tony Ferguson.
McGregor v Ferguson is the fight to make, it should be the only fight to be considered.
The Notorious One hasn’t competed in a UFC cage since November last year, and its likely he won’t return until March next year, will that self imposed hiatus be detriment to how much longer he stays at the top of his sport.
McGregor only has to look at Ronda Rousey, to see how fast you can fall in a still evolving sport if you don’t evolve with it.
The danger signs are clearly there for McGregor, maybe like no other sport your time at the top in MMA is extremely limited, like Rousey found out, you can’t be a part time fighter in MMA, dipping in and out of the sport will only end one way.
Owen Roddy in a recent interview has conceded that McGregor isn’t in the gym as much as used to be, he has other commitments which takes up the time where in the past he would be spending that time in the gym.
McGregor has been allowed to do his thing for two years now, now it’s time for him to do the right thing, defend his belt and defend it against Tony Ferguson.