Although the situation within the UFC's lightweight category seems fairly clear, great concern was nurtured by Justin Gaethje, until he was officially confirmed as Charles Oliveira's next challenger. Namely, Dustin Poirier and Oliveira fought in the 12th month of last year.
Justin Gaethje imposed himself as the logical choice for the next challenger after that match, while Islam Makhachev and Beneil Dariush had to fight for the challenger who would get a chance after Gaethje. However, the great unrest with Gaethje was caused by Conor McGregor.
The Irishman is currently recovering from a broken leg, but he has constantly lobbied and announced that he will be the next challenger after the match between Poirier and Oliveira. Gaethje announced that he would start a rebellion if Conor jumped over him in that hierarchy, but fortunately, that did not happen.
Oliveira and Gaethje will be settling accounts on May 7 (fifth month), and Conor McGregor is unlikely to return until at least summer. However, his manager Tim Simpson, when visiting MMA Hour, pointed out that they do not give up on the idea that his return match will be for the title of champion.
"Let's look first at what will happen in the title match. The thing is, Conor always has options. He will have them even when he recovers, no matter what happens in the category." "He sells well (generates earnings).
He can fight anyone, no matter what seems like ‘right’ for the category. "After all, this is a business and he can win the belt fight if he wants to," Simpson said.
As unfair as statements like this may sound by Conor’s manager, it’s hard to say that it really isn’t.
Conor McGregor has long enjoyed special treatment by the UFC and is still their biggest star. If the UFC decides to neglect what is fair and logical on the sports side, no one should be surprised if Conor really does the fight for the belt.
It doesn’t matter that the Irishman was defeated twice in a row by Poirier who isn’t even the best fighter in the category. Simply, as Tim Simpson says, Conor makes money and that puts him in a position to choose.
Islam Makhachev and Beneil Dariush would certainly be dissatisfied with such an outcome. but they would have no choice but to accept the situation and continue to win. Their match against each other was canceled today due to Darius' injury, and Makhachev will fight Bobby Green.
Although the Dagestani could reach his tenth victory in a row, Bobby Green is an unranked lightweight fighter. This is something that Conor’s team and UFC leaders would certainly use as a good argument to put Makhachev behind McGregor when choosing the next challenger.