Daniel Cormier has made a case for Islam Makhachev vs. Conor McGregor.
Lightweight champion Makhachev (25-1 MMA, 14-1 UFC) retained his title this past Saturday at UFC 294 when he knocked out Alexander Volkanovski with a first-round head kick.
Makhachev was originally scheduled to rematch Charles Oliveira, and top contender Mateusz Gamrot weighed in as a backup for UFC 294. But despite multiple options for the champ, Cormier believes Makhachev should welcome McGregor (22-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC) back to the octagon for his next title defense.
“I think Islam should fight Conor McGregor next,” Cormier said on his ESPN show “DC & RC.” “You have to listen: It’s built in. It’s the biggest money fight the UFC could make. And why not? You have Islam Makhachev, who looks to be a guy that’s going to be a dominant champion. In order to have that dominant champion go to the next level of superstardom, you need a guy that can elevate him. The guy that can elevate him to that level is Conor McGregor.
“Because look at what beating Conor McGregor did for Dustin Poirier, look at what it did for Khabib Nurmagomedov. And we’re not even talking about all the other levels at which this just makes sense. You have Islam fighting Conor after the issues Conor has had with Khabib and everything else. You have Islam fighting Conor, the biggest star in mixed martial arts coming back to the UFC. It makes sense. It makes all the sense in the world.”
McGregor is currently slated to face Michael Chandler after the pair coached against each other on Season 31 of “The Ultimate Fighter” earlier this year. But Cormier argues that not only would a fight against McGregor elevate Makhachev’s brand, it would possibly put the sport’s biggest star back on the throne if he could pull off the big upset.
“This is why it’s a no-lose situation: Because what if Conor wins? What if Conor wins and Conor beats the unbeatable Islam Makhachev?” Cormier said. “It doesn’t mess anything up because now you got your biggest star back in the pole position as champion. But if Islam wins, now you have another Khabib Nurmagomedov in terms of star power. Come on, how can you not see this?”