Last week, UFC president Dana White announced some important fight news on UFC.com: new welterweight champ Tyron Woodley would be facing Steve ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson next, and featherweight champ Conor McGregor would defend his belt against interim belt holder Jose Aldo. But during a media scrum on Friday, Conor McGregor didn’t sound like he was committed to the promotion’s plan at all.
“I read that,” he said when asked about the proposed Aldo rematch. “We’ll see. We’ll see.”
Later he bristled at the idea that he was refusing to defend his featherweight title. “They’re praying I don’t come back! I’ve beaten everyone in the division. If Frankie had of won after all the s**t he was talking and his team was talking, it would have been set in stone: I’d be going back there to shut that man up. But he got slapped around that fight, he couldn’t do nothing against a guy that I KO’d in one shot.”
“I’m the featherweight world champion. The guy I KO’d in 13 seconds is holding the interim, so what does that tell you? I’m leaps and bounds ahead of that featherweight division. I’m the world champion, of course I’ll defend it at some time in the future. But we’ll see what happens after this fight.”
But if not a featherweight title defense, then what? When one reporter noted that all signs are pointing to a Georges St. Pierre comeback, McGregor became contemplative. “You hear so many things. Let’s see what happens. Let’s see the dotted line signed. Let’s see fights take place.”
“But right now I don’t see anyone on my level, so I’m having a hard time deciding who’s next after this one. So we’ll see. We’ll let things play out and then we’ll figure it out.”
Beyond the question of who is the issue of where. Four of McGregor’s last five fights have taken place in Las Vegas, and it’s clear the Irish superstar is ready for a change of venue.
“I certainly want to fight closer to home,” he said. “I’ve fought so many times, I’m very active as you know. I’ve fought out here in Vegas and it’s a long trip from Ireland, so New York is certainly closer. There’s a lot of Irish in New York … I would like to fight there. I think I’ve earned a chance to fight in my hometown also. So those are things that I want to do.”
Giving McGregor a fight in Dublin may be something the UFC can do to bring him around on the idea of rematching Jose Aldo. But at this point it’s unclear whether they have a carrot or stick big enough to make him do anything he’s not particularly interested in doing. And right now, McGregor sounds like a man scanning the moneyweight division for an opponent, and not finding much that excites him.