Morning Report: Michael Bisping: Conor McGregor is ‘hoping and praying’ that Dustin Poirier beats Khabib Nurmagomedov

On Sept. 7 in Abu Dhabi, Khabib Nurmagomedov will put his lightweight title on the line against interim champion Dustin Poirier in the main event of UFC 242. The event figures to be among the biggest of the year for the UFC and while the whole world will be watching, there will be at least one observer with a more vested interest than the rest of the viewing audience, at least so says former middlweight champion Michael Bisping.

Speaking recently on his Believe You Me podcast, the UFC Hall of Famer opined that former two-division champion Conor McGregor is actually the person with the most to gain come UFC 242, that is if Poirier can pull off the upset.

“If I’m McGregor, he’s probably hoping and praying that Poirier beats Khabib in Abu Dhabi,” Bisping said. “Because if Poirier beats Khabib, obviously we all know Conor has that massive win over Poirier. He did it very, very easily. He made short work of Poirier back in the day. Alright, it was at 145, it was a long time ago, but even still, if Poirier wins there’s a possibility of setting up that rematch. That’s his shot and easier shot at the title.”

McGregor has been conspicuously absent from the cage, despite having his name linked to a number of potential matchups. Conventional wisdom is that McGregor is in a contract dispute with the UFC over his pay – particularly his interest in an ownership stake in the company – but Dana White recently suggested that McGregor is actually waiting until after UFC 242 to see how this whole thing plays out. That lends credence to Bisping’s belief that a Poirier win means McGregor would once again jump the line for a title fight.

Of course, he may jump the line anyway. McGregor is the biggest star in UFC history and though he lost a one-sided beatdown to Nurmagomedov in October, afterwards Khabib jumped the fence and started a brawl with McGregor’s team that resulted in a number of fines and suspensions being handed out. The bad blood has only continued to boil since then with McGregor and Khabib going after one another in public to the point that Dana White had to intervene. All that has laid the groundwork for a lucrative rematch between the two which even Bisping has to admit, is possible with the UFC.

“I don’t know if he gets that fight,” Bisping said. “Even if Khabib wins I don’t think he gets the rematch. The Poirier fight, definitely, I can see them doing that.

“I don’t [see them doing the Khabib rematch]. From the UFC’s perspective, they’re going to do it because it was the biggest pay-per-view they’ve ever done and the rematch is going to be even bigger. Simple as that. Rematches sell, especially with the amount of bad blood, especially with what happened after the fight outside the Octagon last time. The rematch will be huge. I just think Conor has to win another fight first. But at the same time, money does talk. . .

“Maybe. Maybe. Because A) as I said before, the numbers were massive so why wouldn’t they want to do that again? B) The public will buy it. They will 100 percent lap that up. It all depends on whether Khabib gives it to him. And honestly, Khabib probably wants to. There is a good possibility.”

If that were to happen, a number of top lightweights would be livid, namely Tony Ferguson. Ferguson is currently riding a 12 fight winning streak and more than deserves a shot at the winner of Khabib-Poirier, especially since McGregor is only 3-2 in his last five fights. One of those fights though, holds the key for McGregor though, according to Bisping: a rematch with Jose Aldo that has been rumored as being considered, potentially for the UFC’s yearly venture to Madison Square Garden.

“That’s the fight to make, if I’m honest,” Bisping said. “Listen, Conor’s got to get back in the winning circle. If he fights Khabib, more than likely that’s not gonna happen. Could he catch him with a good shot and rock him and follow it up? Yeah, of course he could. But more than likely Khabib’s gonna take his best shot, he’s gonna take him down, and we’re gonna have a replay of what happened last time.

“Aldo and McGregor, the buildup to that fight was huge and it ended amazingly in 13 seconds and well done to McGregor. I think people would love to see that because a lot of people feel that Aldo can do better in the rematch and that’s definitely a very winnable fight for Conor. We saw what happened the first time. . .

“That makes sense. Aldo’s coming off a loss, McGregor’s coming off a loss. Pair them together, Madison Square Garden, there’s your main event, winner gets a title shot.”

McGregor has fond memories from Madison Square Garden. In 2016 he knocked out Eddie Alvarez in the main event of UFC 205 to become the UFC’s first simultaneous two-division champion. The UFC returns to Madison Square Garden this year on November 2 for UFC 244.


MUST-READ STORIES

Staph. Arjan Bhullar’s ONE Championship debut scrapped hours ahead of the event.

Motivated. Coach: Eddie Alvarez ‘motivated’ after re-entering ONE tournament.

Jealousy. Jessica Andrade calls Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Claudia Gadelha trash talk ‘jealousy’.

Missed Fists. The best highlights from the previous week in non-UFC MMA.


VIDEO STEW

More DC vs. Khabib.

Eddie’s ONE vlog.

Joe Rogan discussing Conor’s sparring session with The Mountain.

Max getting chocolate wasted.

Stephen Thompson on his diet.


LISTEN UP

Fights Gone By. Discussing ONE FC’s upcoming event and Demetrious Johnson.

The MMA Vivisection. In-depth breakdowns of the biggest fights at UFC Newark.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

UFC 241 promo: Nate Diaz.

Cyborg’s cut.

Cain might do well at this wrasslin’ thing.

Tim Elliot got a fight signed.

Juan Adams really grows on you.

Deron Winn is a very confident man.

Those are legit.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Marvin Vettori (13-3-1) vs. Andrew Sanchez (11-4); UFC Vancouver, Sept. 14.

Brad Katona (8-1) vs. Hunter Azure (7-0); UFC Vancouver, Sept. 14.

Michel Pereira (23-9, 2 NC) vs. Sergey Khandozhko (27-5-1); UFC Vancouver, Sept. 14.

Ariane Lipski (11-5) vs. Priscila Cachoeira (8-3); UFC Sao Paulo, Nov. 16.


TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

2014: For the second time in history, a UFC PPV event was cancelled. UFC 176 was supposed to be held in Los Angeles, CA on this date in 2014, however Jose Aldo was forced to withdraw from the card with and the UFC ultimately opted to cancel the event entirely.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Gotta agree with Bisping that if Poirier wins, McGregor is gonna get the rematch. Don’t think they’ll do Khabib rematch until Conor gets another win though and I’m not even sure Aldo makes sense. Conor would be favored but Aldo is by no means an easy fight and there’s so minimal upside. Not like Conor can improve on a 13-second KO. Once again, Conor should be fighting Cerrone and I have no idea why the UFC can’t get it together and make that happen. It’s the perfect fight for him.

Thanks for reading, enjoy the fights, and see y’all on Monday.


EXIT POLL


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