There are some of my peers that have stated that if they hear the name of UFC featherweight Conor McGregor one more time they will annihilate his home country of Ireland as a recompense. Seriously, the guy is everywhere, every day, every station, and on every site. He has done such a good job at trash talking his way in to the spotlight that Chael Sonnen has said, “Whoa, bro. Slow your roll. This isn’t WWE.” Yeah, it’s not that bad, but still.
McGregor has called out everyone including Jose Aldo, Aquaman, the entire X-men roster including offshoot X-factor characters, Will Smith and his son Jaden, Lionel Richie, M. Night Shymalan for his crappy movies, and his latest callout – Cub Swanson. I mean if you are in the UFC he has called you out. So why is common man Cub Swanson on the list? It’s simple really. Let me explain.
We have seen this time and again with Chael Sonnen when he wanted a shot at Anderson Silva. There were other worthy competitors in line, but because Chael didn’t want to wait he started making it clear that he had the next title shot even if someone else was promised it. It’s called healthy paranoia and a burning desire to be the best as fast as possible. McGregor probably knows Swanson has earned the shot more than he has, however he probably blocked that out and convinced himself otherwise. Conor is a beast, but right now he sits in Dan Hardy territory. On the edge of greatness, and if he’s not careful obscurity.
Dan Hardy had 4 wins in the welterweight division over some tough guys like Mike Swick, but he wasn’t truly tested yet before they threw him in there with the human blanketing machine, 170 pound champion Georges St. Pierre. Hardy was exposed by GSP and every one of his future opponents saw he was a one-dimensional striker. He was never the same after the GSP fight, or was he never that great to begin with? McGregor has never been in there with the 145 pound elite and should he face Aldo now his hype train could be over and done with in the span of 5 quick rounds. Just ask Glover Teixeira, Jake Ellenberger, Jake Shields, Uriah, Hall, Alistair Overeem, Cro Cop, Brandon Vera, and the list goes on. If you are not careful Conor you will end up in the gatekeeper column with Michael Bisping, Ryan Bader, and Miesha Tate. You may also find yourself retired like Hardy.
Cub Swanson on the other hand has been quietly winning 6 in a row over fighters like Dennis Siver, Ross Pearson, and Conor’s only true notable win Dustin Poirier. He has earned the title shot and Dana White has to know this. There is a problem though for White. Swanson is less marketable than Brendan Schaub in terms of ticket sales and that is saying something. Because Cub is quiet and because he lets his fists do the talking he may get “Chael Sonnen’d” and trash talked out of a title fight by McGregor. Dana has always made decisions to make fights that he thought the fans wanted to see because it equals big money. Swanson vs. Aldo would fall flat, but Swanson vs. McGregor? Now we’re talking.
Conor recently said he would “bathe in Swanson’s tears” because he says Cub is delusional if he thinks he’s the next in line for Aldo. This is most likely what Conor is trying to do if you ask me. He knows Dana may not give him Aldo and he knows Swanson really is next by most accounts. So what better way to get a title shot than to goad the UFC in to making the fight between Conor and Cub instead of Swanson vs. Aldo.
McGregor would then be the outright contender if he can beat his next opponent Dennis Siver who he called a Nazi, and then he beat Cub if Swanson can get past his fight with Frankie Edgar. Both fights are taking place soon, but McGregor winning still means it’s over someone lower than Swanson on the rankings totem pole and he is no closer in the rankings to Swanson than he was before. Swanson will jump ahead of Chad Mendes for certain if he wins and that would make him the #1 contender, Mendes would drop to #2 and McGregor very well could be #3. If Edgar wins that screws everything up and McGregor could get the next title shot if he wins against Siver.
So, the possible outcomes, without draws, are:
McGregor and Swanson win and it’s on! Conor vs. Cub.
McGregor and Swanson win and Dana has to make a business decision of who faces 145 pound champ Aldo.
Edgar and Siver win and it’s bye bye title shots for Swanson and McGregor. Conor and Cub square off anyways.
McGregor and Edgar win and Conor has to face Frankie. A win over Edgar would shut all of his critics up.
McGregor and Edgar win and Edgar gets another crack at a title.
McGregor and Edgar win and Conor gets his shot.
Swanson and Siver win and Swanson faces Aldo.
Any of those fight outcomes are fine with me, but a loss will not mean the end of the McGregor train. He will be around for a long time selling himself as the champion, promoting fights – even if they eventually end up on the prelims.