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Conor McGregor Says Maybe It’s Time to “Legitimize” Rankings, Silence Critics

Kelsey Mowatt

UFC

Talk about a rubber match between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz has been making the rounds lately, but sounds like the UFC’s lightweight champ has other bouts in his sights after all.

Ever since McGregor avenged his submission loss to Diaz last August, by earning a decision win over the Stockon star, there’s been speculation about when a third bout would go down. Since then, McGregor has gone on to win the lightweight title, but, he’s also coming off a massive payday against Floyd Mayweather, and many believe a third fight with Diaz will be next. The theory being it’s likely the biggest fight the UFC can offer the Irish fighter right now.

Well, at a Q&A on Friday in Glasgow, McGregor relayed he’s “happy” that Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee are fighting for an interim belt. McGregor also repeated that he’s interested in fighting Khabib Nurmagomedov in Russia.

But, the outspoken fighter also offered these interesting comments, regarding “legitimizing” the sport (quotes via MMA Fighting):

“Nathan (Nate Diaz) is there. He’s trying to come in here and make all of these demands. If he starts pricing himself out of an event, I probably will defend against the person who wins this interim belt…or someone along that line to legitimize it again.

“I’ve already gone from the highest of the high in terms of a money fight. Now the question I always get is about defending the belt and legitimizing the sport and the rankings.

“Maybe now it would be a good time for me to go and do that and shut that side up.”

Now, it remains to be seen of course, if McGregor in fact agrees to fight say the winner of Ferguson – Lee. But, these comments are pretty interesting, since they would seem to indicate that McGregor understands that in order to enhance his legacy, he needs to defend the belt against the best-of-the-best. That’s not always the biggest bout, however, in terms of a payday.

So, hardcore fans and fight purists, are likely happy to read these statements. Especially since so far, McGregor has yet to defend a belt he’s won in the UFC. Now it’s just a matter of seeing what in fact comes next for the superstar.

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