UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor had all the bargaining chips on the table at UFC 196, he pushed them all, and lost in emphatic fashion against Nate Diaz. All of those bargaining chips are no more and he should have to defend his title against Frankie Edgar next.
Making the case for Edgar over Jose Aldo
While Aldo was the long time UFC featherweight champion, the fact that he has already fought McGregor and lost in 13 seconds makes a second fight hard to come by. Aldo reportedly turned down an opportunity to fight McGregor on short notice at UFC 196 and while I understand it was a business decision, he had the opportunity.
Frankie Edgar has never faced McGregor and besides Aldo, has been the one fighter that fans want to see McGregor defend his belt against. Edgar has rattled off five consecutive wins since losing to Jose Aldo at UFC 156 in 2013. Edgar spoke on the situation on the UFC 196 post-fight show:
“I’m assuming he has no other choice but to come back down and defend his featherweight title and I’m waiting him. I know Aldo is vying for the rematch. He had his chance. Conor beat Aldo in 13 seconds. I’m coming for it and I’m getting my belt. There’s an unknown with me. I’m going to be bothering these guys. I want this fight.”
It probably wouldn’t be a huge factor, but Edgar may be a bigger PPV draw than Aldo as well at this point, as the Brazilian has never been able to cross over into superstar status. He hasn’t even been able to become a borderline star on PPV despite spectacular performances in the past much.
McGregor’s next fight has to be at featherweight as he can’t fight for the lightweight title as previously planned because of the loss to Nate Diaz.
If McGregor would have won against Nate Diaz, he would have continued to have the UFC over a barrel and make whatever demands he wanted. The loss to Diaz has leveled that playing field now, and McGregor should have to the defend his featherweight title as a normal champion would.
Frankie Edgar has earned the shot and waited patiently while McGregor had been given the freedom to do whatever he wanted.
It’s time to find out if Frankie is “The Answer” to solve McGregor at 145 pounds.