With the recent debacle surrounding the UFC’s attempt to book a last minute fight between Islam Makhachev and Rafael Dos Anjos, and the resulting news that Makhachev would be re-booked to fight Beneil Dariush after ultimately turning RDA down, it seems more and more likely that the UFC will end up slotting Conor McGregor into the lightweight title picture sometime in 2022.
Dana White has already teased the idea, suggesting that booking a bout between the sitting champion and the Irish superstar would be down to whoever currently wears the crown – and what fight they want – once McGregor’s leg is healthy. What fighter with PPV points to consider would turn down a seemingly guaranteed million+ buy event?
Would the booking make sporting sense? Or even be all that competitive? Maybe not. But there is one man that former middleweight king Michael Bisping believes would be an especially favorable style clash for the longtime SBG Ireland talent. And it just so happens that that man is none other than the lightweight belt-holder himself, Charles Oliveira.
“It’s wild but if you ran the company would you want that to happen?” Bisping asked Joe Rogan on a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, speaking of the idea of a McGregor title shot in 2022 (transcript via MMA Fighting). “You probably would, let’s be honest. The reality is, Conor’s best days are long gone, probably. You can’t stay at the top forever.”
“I’ll tell you this, if there’s a person that you’d put him against in the top-5 to beat, it would be Charles Oliveira,” Bisping added. “Charles is hittable and Conor can still f***ing hit. He’s fast and Charles is hittable…. I’m just saying, there’s a potential that Conor comes back, beats Charles Oliveira and becomes champion again. That is—I don’t think I can deal with the world if that happens. Oh my god. But it might happen. He’s still got that left hand, he’s still got power and speed.”
McGregor (22-6) last tasted victory back in January of 2020, when he picked up a 0:40 TKO of Donald Cerrone in the main event of UFC 246. That bout marked his first since losing a lightweight title fight to Khabib Nurmagomedov back in 2018. In the two years since his Cerrone win, McGregor had a pair of bouts with former featherweight foe Dustin Poirier—losing both via TKO.
Oliveira defeated Poirier – fresh off that second McGregor victory – via 3rd round RNC at UFC 269 in December of last year. He’s currently set to take on former interim champ Justin Gaethje at UFC 274. If ‘Do Bronx’ can walk away from that fight with his hand raised, it just may be that Bisping will get a chance to see his theory in action.
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