For awhile, it seemed like a done deal that McGregor would come back to the UFC and fight Nate Diaz a third time, but at lightweight this time. That seemed to change after UFC 216. More and more the answer everyone is picking for him is Tony Ferguson. Dan Hardy wants it, Eddie Bravo wants it, and now even training partner Dillon Danis thinks it’s the new interim UFC lightweight champion who gets the nod.
“I WOULD THINK TONY FERGUSON NEXT BECAUSE HE WON AND CONOR [MCGREGOR] IS GONNA’ DEFEND THE BELT AND STUFF LIKE THAT. AND ME KNOWING CONOR, TONY FERGUSON IS TALKING A LOT OF SHIT AND I KNOW CONOR IS GONNA WANT TO SHUT HIM UP. SO, I CAN SEE THAT HAPPENING. […] I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE THINK THAT TONY IS A TOUGH MATCH-UP FOR HIM, AND I THINK HE WOULD WANNA PROVE PEOPLE WRONG THERE. HE ALREADY BEAT NATE, SO I COULD SEE THAT, BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY IT’S HIS CHOICE AND WHATEVER HE THINKS. BUT FOR ME KNOWING HIM, I THINK HE LIKES TO PROVE PEOPLE WRONG AND THAT COULD BE THE TONY FIGHT.”
“I DON’T KNOW WHAT PEOPLE JUDGE THAT OF OFF. I DON’T KNOW WHY THEY WOULD SAY [TONY FERGUSON] HAS A SUPERIOR ADVANTAGE ON THE GROUND OR STUFF LIKE THAT. PEOPLE DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT CONOR’S JIU JITSU IS LIKE OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT. SO, WITH ME TRAINING WITH CONOR SO MUCH IN HIS JIU JITSU, I FEEL LIKE HE’LL BE FINE ON THE GROUND OR EVEN BETTER [THAN TONY]. SO YEAH, I WOULD LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING THAT FIGHT. I THINK CONOR’S GOING TO PICK HIM APART ON THE FEET, MOST LIKELY KNOCK HIM OUT EARLY OR HE CAN PROBABLY DO WHATEVER HE WANTS WITH HIM. TONY’S VERY SLOPPY. IF YOU WATCH HIS FIGHTS, HE GETS HIT A LOT, AND WHEN YOU GET HIT AGAINST CONOR YOU GO OUT.” –DILLON DANIS SPEAKING TO SUBMISSION RADIO.
No one denies Conor McGregor’s danger that he presents on the feet, but the ground game is always the target that people aim at when it comes to the champ champ. Despite having his brown belt in jiu jitsu and beating black belts like Diego Brandao in the UFC, the fans look at his two submission losses back in 2008 and 2010 as a nitpick. However, it’s more logical to have doubts about McGregor’s talents on the ground because we just haven’t seen much of it. He was able to win 15 fights straight after his last submission loss and wasn’t submitted again until his first encounter with Nate Diaz. Through all that, we never saw much of McGregor’s grappling because we never had to. Just like Danis said, when he hits people, he puts them out.
This article first appeared onBJPenn.comon 10/27/2017.