MMA analyst Chael Sonnen thinks the uncertainty over the vacant UFC lightweight title is because other fighters are “scared” that Conor McGregor will compete for the belt in his comeback bout.
McGregor is still recovering from a broken tibia he suffered in his trilogy fight against Dustin Poirier last July. He will undergo another CT scan in the coming days and expects he should now be able to throw kicks with his compromised leg.
The former two-weight champion is hopeful of adding a third belt to his collection upon his return, challenging welterweight champion Kamaru Usman for his comeback fight. But Sonnen thinks lightweight fighters are afraid that McGregor will jump the line to fight for the 155-pound title.
“Maybe when they all get done screaming, maybe one of the hesitations they have, why they don’t wanna be heard, why they don’t wanna put those aces on the table, is that they’re afraid Conor [McGregor] is gonna swoop in and take it all away anyway,” he said.
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“It’s a little bit of a perplexing spot at 155 pounds. But, there’s a job opening. If you’re going to apply for the job fill out your resume, raise your hand and speak the hell up.”
Charles Oliveira was stripped of his UFC lightweight belt despite beating Justin Gaethje earlier this month after missing weight for the title bout. UFC president Dana White has confirmed that Oliveira will compete for the belt in his next fight, but his challenger remains uncertain.
Islam Makhachev and Beneil Dariush are the two contenders in line to fight for the lightweight title next. The pair were supposed to fight in February, but Dariush pulled out due to injury and the bout was never rescheduled.
“I don’t know why we’re not hearing from these guys [Oliveira and Makhachev],” Sonnen continued. “I don’t know why I’m the only guy talking about it. Representatives of Islam are talking about the fight. Representatives of Charles are talking about the fight.
“I don’t hear Charles talking about the fight, I don’t hear Islam talking about the fight. I hear Benny [Dariush] speaking up saying you better not do that fight because I’m promised my fight with you, Islam, which I plan to win to get me into the fight with Charles.”
Oliveira thinks Makhachev and Dariush need to fight each other to determine the next title challenger, but Makhachev wants a title shot next and has accused Oliveira of “ducking” a fight against him.