After making record-setting work of Ben Askren at UFC 239, welterweight Jorge Masvidal has etched his name amongst the top contenders to UFC champion Kamaru Usman. With Usman sidelined until at least late this year, Masvidal shifted his focus to the "money fight" and Conor McGregor.
UFC president Dana White, however, recently told TMZ Sports not only is Masvidal not getting a fight with McGregor, he's getting a big "hell no" to it.
"Masvidal is too big for Conor. (McGregor has fought at 170 before) but he shouldn't have. I hated that he did it. Not only did I hate that he did it once, I hated that he did it twice," White said when caught on the street by TMZ.
"There's plenty of fights for (Masvidal) in his weight division without Conor. He's too big for Conor. Conor doesn't belong at 170. He's got the balls to fight at 170, but he doesn't belong there. Hell no."
Just what is next for Conor McGregor, if not Jorge Masvidal? That is a good question, but one that appears to have an answer somewhere in the lightweight division.
"He'll either be back this year or early next year," White said of McGregor's return. "We'll see how this whole thing plays out in September."
The fighters that most make sense for McGregor are all in the Top 5, but with champion Khabib Nurmagomedov unifying his belt with that of interim champion Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 in September, that bout is expected to set the dominoes of match-ups in motion, particularly when it comes to McGregor.
Nurmagomedov holds a dominant win over McGregor at UFC 229 in October 2018, so if he wins, it's not likely that McGregor would get the rematch he wants with the Dhagestani fighter. In fact, White said emphatically that McGregor would not get the winner of Khabib vs. Poirier regardless of who wins.
"No. No (he won't get the UFC 242 winner). But (that fight) will shake a lot of things up whoever wins that fight."
If Nurmagomedov loses, there is a good chance McGregor would get the rematch that he so desperately wants. But there are other match-ups that make sense as well.
If Nurmagomedov wins, he'll likely draw top contender Tony Ferguson next, although they have tried on numerous occasions to face each other, but have yet to make it to the cage. That would likely leave McGregor to face Poirier, whom he holds a victory over at featherweight in 2014 or an enticing match-up with fellow Top 5 contender Justin Gaethje.
So it appears that we'll be waiting until at least September before we know when, where, and against whom McGregor makes his UFC return.
Dana White addresses Conor McGregor's UFC return
(Courtesy of TMZSports)