Michael Bisping believes we could see Conor McGregor return straight into a title fight upon his return from injury.
McGregor has been out with injury since last July, but there has already been much talk of a fight between himself and UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira. And despite the arguments from other men in the 155-pound division, Bisping reckons the promotional weight McGregor provides can overcome any ranking issue.
“I think there’s a possibility that he comes back and fights for the belt. And I know you’re like, ‘Bisping, you’re crazy’ But the UFC puts on the fights that people want to see,” Bisping said on his YouTube channel (transcribed by Fighters Only).
“Let me think, has there ever been a time where somebody, that wasn’t ranked inside the top 15 ever came and fought for a belt? Hmmm, yes there has, and I know it very well. It was Georges St-Pierre. He was retired from the sport, he’d been away for four years. He certainly wasn’t fucking ranked, and he came back and fought me.
“Now, of course, with Georges, he was one of the greatest of all-time, he was a dominant longtime champion and he chose to step away from the sport. But for me, I wanted to fight Georges. I’m a prizefighter, and the prize is money. Georges St-Pierre was the biggest prize available to me at that time. Not only a legendary opponent, but in terms of pay-per-view dollars, that’s what we all want. McGregor said it best himself, ‘Red panty night!’
“There is no bigger star, there’s no bigger prize, there’s no bigger or brighter red panties than you can get, than fighting Conor McGregor.
“If you’re Charles Oliveira, coming from the slums of Brazil, from the Favelas, through the hardship, the ups and downs, the adversity that he’s had in his life, and you say to him, ‘Hey, do you want to fight Justin Gaethje – a stone-cold killer. A man with heavy hands, a granite chin, crazy wrestling? Or do you want to fight Conor McGregor – a guy that hasn’t won a fight since 2016, a guy that’s recovering from a broken leg, that hasn’t trained since last year, and by all accounts has ballooned up and looks like a mini Incredible Hulk right now. He’s going to have to lose all that weight to get back down to 155.’
“If I’m Charles Oliveira, I’m picking Conor McGregor all day long. Of course, Justin Gaethje may jump that queue because he wants to fight sooner, and Charles mighty want to fight sooner. But, if Charles beats Gaethje, or if that fight doesn’t happen, I think Conor McGregor is gonna be the guy.
“You think I’m crazy, but think about it. The UFC puts on the fights that we want to see. That us, the fans, the buying public, they put on the fights we want to see. And, whether you love him or hate him, there’s no bigger star than Conor McGregor right now.”