Audie Attar, the manager of both Conor McGregor and Tony Ferguson, has given his take on what exactly the Irishman’s next move will be.
UFC 216 saw the emergence of a new interim-champion at 155lbs in the form of Tony Fergusonas he dispatched the impressive – but ultimately unsuccessful Kevin Lee with a beautifully executed choke from his guard in the third round.
The increased presence of interim-belts within the UFC these days has had many questioning the legitimacy of the championship belt, as well as the need for creating these interim titles in the first place.
However, seeing as Ferguson defeated Lee for what many assume to be the next shot at Conor McGregor’s undisputed belt – one would think that the logical next step would be to book the title-unification bout and set McGregor and Ferguson up for a five-rounder, surely?
Unfortunately, the logical thing to do doesn’t always seem to be the top choice for the UFC brass these days and despite overwhelming fan enthusiasm for the aforementioned unification showdown, Ferguson’s claim to the next ‘red panty night’ is still uncertain.
The presence of Nate Diaz and the rubber match that will end his trilogy with McGregor is a very real option at this stage but still, many have pointed out that the sport’s integrity will be compromised if the smaller name that is Tony Ferguson doesn’t get what he deserves.
Attar spoke on a recent edition of Michael Bisping’s popular podcast Believe You Me and gave his two cents on the next move for the Irishman.
“No, I can’t say [who McGregor will fight next]. Here’s what I will tell you, Tony earned a shot at the belt. He won the interim lightweight title. Conor doesn’t shy away from a challenge.
“The Nate fight does make sense, obviously, because of the trilogy, they never fought at 155, but they both make sense in their own respective way.
“However, I do believe that when [they] go at it, it will, in my opinion, validate the belt system. It will validate what a championship belt is all about.”
It’s still hard to know what’s going to happen, but with the year drawing to a close and the headliner-less UFC 219 still very much an option, we may well see this bout become a reality this year.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena