UFC confirm 2019's most exciting fight as McGregor urged to avoid Masvidal
That was the take of UFC president Dana White when he was asked about a possible 170lb fight between Jorge Masvidal and Conor McGregor.
Masvidal sparked Ben Askren in five seconds in his last outing at welterweight, earlier this month, and is hoping to get a title shot against Kamaru Usman ahead of Colby Covington and former champ Tyron Woodley.
The only hitch in Masvidal's plan is a major one - Usman is currently out injured and may not feature again until later this year, for his first title defence. It was suggested to him that he could take on McGregor, while he waits, and he would certainly be down for it, even if he did try to warn 'The Notorious' off the idea. He declared:
"I want McGregor, man. I want to break his face. I think that's an easy pay-cheque. He's got these cash symbols written all over his face for me."
McGregor confirmed, on social media, as recently as Sunday that he was intent on a UFC comeback. He last fought in October 2018 - losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov - and hand surgery ruled out return bout against Anthony Pettis this month. It may not be November, at Madison Square Garden, before he steps back in The Octagon.
White was asked about a possible McGregor vs. Masvidal bout, by TMZ, and his response was emphatic:
"Hell no. Masvidal is too big for Conor. There's plenty of fights for Jorge in his weight division without Conor. He's too big for Conor, [who] doesn't belong at 170. He's got the balls to fight at 170, but he doesn't belong there."
McGregor has two welterweight fights in his professional MMA career, both in the UFC and both back in 2016. He lost to Nate Diaz at UFC 196 but avenged that result at UFC 202, five months later.
Meanwhile, the UFC has confirmed what will be the most anticipated fight of 2019. The promotion will pair off Justin Gaethje and Donald Cerrone in September.
Gaethje [20-2] and Cerrone [30-12-1] should headline a UFC Fight Night card in Vancouver, Canada on September 12. McGregor has been linked to both lightweights in recent months and both are dangerous strikers who often prefer to stand up and throw.
Cerrone's doctor stoppage loss to Tony Ferguson was the fight most fans were looking forward to in 2019 and that may well be surpassed when a tilt with the reckless and lethal Gaethje is confirmed. Between them, both men have 27 knockouts or TKOs to their name.
An impressive win for either man could get McGregor's attention or put them close to a fight with Nurmagomedov.