Tony Ferguson surgery means Conor McGregor could be set for Las Vegas return
Ultimately, this makes the most sense.
You can now rule Conor McGregor out of the first two big UFC pay-per-views of 2018. It was always going to be a stretch to get McGregor back in camp, starting over Christmas, and ready for January's UFC 220 in Boston. UFC 221 will be in Perth, in February. Newly confirmed undisputed middleweight champion Robert Whittaker is headlining that against Luke Rockhold.
Up next, in March and April, are UFC 222 and 223. Both will be held in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, with McGregor expected to make his return there.
For all of the recent Manny Pacquaio talk, McGregor and his coaches are set on him taking his next fight in MMA, not boxing. Interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson is the likely opponent but elbow surgery has now ruled him out until March or April.
'El Cucuy' posted a post-surgery snap and told McGregor he would be fit and firing for March or April title unification bouts as 'recovery is going great'. Once again, there was a 'McNuggets' call-out and the 'defend or vacate' taunt.
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"Keep Em' Sharp" So I Asked Doc If He Could Make My Elbows Any More Sharper 💪😎 Well... w/ A Wink & A Nod It Was Done!!! T'Was A Very Minor Surgery & Now Getting Ready To Unify My Belt W/ McNuggets @thenotoriousmma In The 1st 1/4 Of The Year (March - April) As Recovery Is Going Great!!! #DefendorVacate MF'er🖕🏽😎 The First Day Of Therapy Was Huge, "I Never Liked Sitting On The Sidelines" 😎✌️@repair_sports_institute_hb Almost To Full Flexibility & Next Is Strength 🏋️Thanks Doctor Mora, @danawhite & @ufc For The OrthoScope It Was A Success #TSKYH Great Job 👍 , I Look Forward To Kicking McNuggets Ass & Defending My Strap For A Decade Or Two 🇲🇽🏆🇺🇸 #AndTheNew #TonyFergusonMMA SnapJitsu™ #SnapDownCity My Mat MF'ers 🖕🏽😎
McGregor and Ferguson are both signed to the same management agency, Paradigm, and this is the fight the fans clearly want. The interim champion is the obvious fight to take but one suspects McGregor's team will have its toughest negotiations with the UFC over PPV percentages and up-front cash for 'The Notorious' to show and go.
As for the other fight that seems most likely for McGregor, before he finally walks away from the sport, that can has been kicked further down the road.
Nate Diaz is waiting patiently, and with little fuss, for his trilogy fight against McGregor and not bothering much with the other options being put in front of him by the UFC.
Ufc offered me title fight in any weight class Im kool though I'll givem a shot when they do something good
On to the next sport for now 🥊🥊
— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) December 9, 2017
Perhaps Diaz can keep Pacquiao occupied by taking him on in a boxing match. That'll keep all four men happy.