What does Conor McGregor’s suspension mean for the UFC?

Conor McGregor during his fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov
Conor McGregor during his fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov. Image © Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

A few days ago the Nevada Athletic Commission announced that Conor McGregor would receive a six month ban for his part in the post fight brawl that broke out after his fight at UFC 229. It feels like so long since that event took place place most fans could be forgiven for forgetting that McGregor and his opponent, Khabib Nurmagomedov we’re awaiting suspensions from the NAC.

The suspensions are retroactive, meaning that it isn’t a six month ban for McGregor starting now, it’s a six month ban starting the day after the fight took place. This means that we may see McGregor back in the Octagon in the first half of this year. There is some speculation that we could see McGregor headline UFC 236 in April, which currently needs both a main event and an arena.

Who the Notorious Irishman fights next is a matter for debate. There has been the obvious link with Donald Cerrone, the two going back and forth on Twitter a number of times after Cowboy called out the former Champ earlier this month. The issue here is that we haven’t seen a planned non-title PPV main event in the UFC since Diaz vs McGregor 2 – way back in 2016.

Of course McGregor has the star power to buck that trend, however it would be interesting to see how the UFC booked the remainder of that card… would we see a title fight as co-main? It feels unlikely. However it does seem like McGregor is eager to get back into the cage at least one more time, which will be music to Dana White’s ears.

As for Khabib, he received a nine month suspension, meaning he’s technically eligible to fight again in the summer, however with Ramadan it’s unlikely that we’ll see Khabib back in the Octagon until towards the end of 2019… and who he will fight next is currently very much up in the air.

There’s always the fabled fight with Tony Ferguson, however Dustin Poirier has now also said that he is holding out and will not fight anyone unless it is Ferguson, McGregor or Khabib… and he certainly has earned that title shot.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out for the UFC over the next few months, and if we do see McGregor back in the Octagon as soon as some fans are hoping.