Conor McGregor could be next in line for a featherweight title shot. | Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog.com
While Conor McGregor has been recently angling for a fight with Diego Sanchez at UFC 180, Dana White has bigger plans for the Irish featherweight.
The UFC President told UFC.com on Thursday that inserting McGregor into the No. 1 contender slot in the featherweight division makes sense, especially if reigning champion Jose Aldo defeats Chad Mendes in their rematch at UFC 179. McGregor is expected to be in attendance in Rio de Janeiro for the Oct. 25 title bout.
“Here’s the thing: If you go down the list, every one of those guys has fought Jose Aldo already,” White said. “Conor hasn’t. So who do you line up next for the champ other than Conor? Everybody else has fought him.”
White is likely referring to Frankie Edgar and Cub Swanson, who lock horns in another 145-pound bout with title implications at UFC Fight Night in Austin on Nov. 22. Edgar fell to Aldo in his featherweight debut at UFC 156, while Swanson suffered a knockout loss to the Nova Uniao star at WEC 41. Other ranked contenders who have recently lost to the Brazilian champion include Chan Sung Jung (UFC 163) and Ricardo Lamas (UFC 169).
While the next challenger for the featherweight crown remains undecided, one thing is clear: McGregor will not be fighting Sanchez when he does return to action.
“So Lorenzo (Fertitta) and I went to dinner with him last night, and he said he wants to fight Diego Sanchez in Mexico at 155. I said, ‘You’re nuts. No way, we’ll get you a fight. You’ll be fighting soon enough.’ The kid just wants to fight,” White said. “He said him and Diego have been talking back and forth for a while, and he wanted to fight him. We basically told him no, and he went out and put that on Twitter anyway.”
McGregor is 4-0 during his UFC tenure, with victories over Marcus Brimage, Max Holloway, Diego Brandao and Dustin Poirier. Both White and Fertitta have compared the Irishman’s impact in the Octagon to that of former big-ticket stars such as Brock Lesnar and Georges St. Pierre.