The three world class fighters sat down with Forrest Griffin to discuss one of the current hot topics of the sport.
Conor McGregor’s troubles outside the Octagon has raised concerns about his future in it.
Indeed, during the media rounds last week, UFC president Dana White admitted that he doesn’t know if his promotion’s biggest star will ever return to MMA action, and claimed that he is continuing his duties as if Conor is out of the game for good (though McGregor still holds the 155lb. belt).
During UFC 218, Tyron Woodley and Demetrious Johnson, welterweight and flyweight champions respectively, along with lightweight contender Kevin Lee, disagreed on what McGregor’s next move should be.
Having lost to Tony Ferguson in the interim title fight at UFC 216, Lee believes that ‘El Cucuy’ should be ‘shown respect’ by getting his shot at unifying the belts.
“McGregor has to come back and he has to fight Tony. The man says he’s a fighter. He has to come back and prove that he’s a fighter and a champion.”
Perhaps alluding to Lee’s obvious desire to one day fight the Crumlin man, Woodley interjected that it is McGregor’s choice alone.
“McGregor don’t have to do nothing [sic]”, Woodley said in response.
“You want him to come back, but he doesn’t have to do a thing besides walk around and spend that money he got.”
Demetrious Johnson feels that McGregor has nothing left to prove, and coming from the consensus pound-for-pound best and genuine G.O.A.T candidate, this view holds serious credibility.
“I think when people say ‘He’s got to prove himself as a fighter’, I’ve been in the sport for a long time, and I see people who are 22 time kickboxing champions and they’re broke”, Johnson revealed.
“They ask to borrow my cell phone to make a call and I think ‘You’ve won 22 times and you’re broke – how does that happen’? Conor’s smart, he could come back but he doesn’t have to. He’s already fought the best of the best, he’s knocked people out, what more does he need to prove?”
When it was pointed out to him that he holds the record for UFC title defences at 11, and that McGregor should aspire to this, ‘Mighty Mouse’ had this to say.
“My bank account doesn’t look like his, so he’s doing something right and I’m doing something wrong.”
Woodley opposed, claiming that McGregor hasn’t fought the best of the best, rather choosing ‘smart fights’, though he gave the Irishman credit for backing up his words ’80 to 90 percent of the time’.
“You guys are both doing something right – but you have different missions. His goal was to be infamous and filthy rich, and yours was to be the greatest of all time. You both did that. That’s why he doesn’t have to come back if he doesn’t want to.”
Something tells us that ‘The Notorious’ one would disagree with Woodley’s assertion that he’s only in the game for money. The best way of debunking it is to heed Kevin Lee’s words and return to the lightweight division, that, for now, he still reigns over.
The debate can be seen here from around 2:30 in.