Has MMA moved past Conor McGregor?

UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has once again set the standard of what it means to be a dominant champion in one of the most talent-rich divisions in the UFC. He accomplished this by putting on a dominant performance over interim Champion Dustin Poirier who showed up in tremendous shape and ready with all the usual impressive tools of his skill set.

Nurmagomedov with his intense pressure of a ground game set the pace at which Poirier was able to fight at by consistently taking him down and showering him with a consistent high volume of ground and pound as per the usual Khabib Nurmagomedov strategy.

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The dominant performance was capped off by a third-round rear-naked choke by Nurmagomedov to the standing ovation in Abu Dhabi.

There was no drama, no confrontations or any sort of problems as any mixed martial arts fan would expect considering Khabibs last fight. The actual surprise came from none other than Conor McGregor outside of the ring and across twitter as McGregor tweeted that the UFC should book the rematch in Russia.

Usually, this would have fans across the world standing on their feet asking for the rematch as well but it seems that fans are starting to look at another possible option, one that’s been tried before in the form of Tony Ferguson.

Yes, the same Tony Ferguson that turns his opponents into scarred bloody messes and that seems to be the only person in the top five at least that has an elite brazilian jiu-jitsu background and is comfortable working from his back.

The same Tony Ferguson that has a 77% takedown defense and presents a problem even when he gives away top position as a part of his strategy.

Normally this would be an easy pick for the UFC as they usually give their top marketed stars in the UFC an immediate rematch such as Ronda Rousey getting an immediate rematch after losing to Holly Holm in a devastating fashion.

Or Anderson Silva losing to Chris Weidman in also a devastating loss, Joanna Jedrzejczyk in a not totally surprising loss to Rose Namjunas or Cody Garbrandt in his first-round loss to T.J Dillashaw.

The biggest differences separating those champions from the former UFC two-division champion Conor McGregor being that Conor McGregor has never defended a belt and has also not won a fight in 3 years.

Has the once highlight fighter and golden boy of the UFC lost his luster and put MMA fans on a track to see fights that they believe are closer in skill?

By proxy also signaling the loss in confidence of Conor McGregor’s ground game and ability to take on someone like Khabib Nurmagomedov?

Or is the scenario of Tony Ferguson fighting Khabib Nurmagomedov more exciting and about a match of skill to MMA fans than a Conor McGregor fight?

Either way, UFC head honcho Dana White has stated that the former interim champion Tony Ferguson is next to fight the lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Even with Nurmagomedov stating that Ferguson must be next, there is still Conor McGregor in the wings and we can never know what fight we’re going to get.