Conor McGregor has long ago cemented himself as the biggest star the UFC has ever had, but that doesn’t mean he’s the only star. Two names that have fit the ‘star’ label are champions Israel Adesanya and Francis Ngannou.
Israel Adesanya headlined one of the highest-selling pay-per-view of the year thus far in UFC 259: Blachowicz vs. Adesanya, which is reported to have done 800,000 buys worldwide. Meanwhile, Ngannou has been building his heavyweight star power by crossing over into Hollywood.
Still, according to WWE superstar Bobby Lashley, they are missing that special ingredient to take them to the next level.
“You got some like Israel Adesanya…Francis Ngannou. I think those guys are phenomenal. And if they turned the volume up a little bit on what they were doing, I think it would put them to that stardom of Conor McGregor. Conor already gets it,” Lashley said in an interview with comicbook.com.
Lashley argues that taking components from the professional wrestling business can and already has proven beneficial to some MMA fighters. In fact, he has taken credit for former American Top Team teammate Colby Covington’s character amplification that began in 2017.
As it pertains to Adesanya, Ngannou, and any other MMA fighter looking to transcend to that next tier of stardom, Lashley specifically laid out what McGregor does so well that others could learn from.
“Conor promotes fights, and every time, he’s promoting fights when he is not even fighting. He’s sitting at home injured and he still promote fights and sell himself. And I think a lot of times when you go into mixed martial arts it’s all about respect. And some of those guys are saying, ‘Okay, I’m not going to talk because I want to have respect.’ But at the same time, the promoters are like, ‘Well, I’m paying the money for guys that are selling these tickets, that are putting a—es in seats’ So there’s got to be a balance. It’s one thing to be a good fighter and let the promotion push you, but the promotion is more about the promotion.
“So if you want to be great and make some big money, you need to learn about that selling aspect that I think all the guys can use a little refresher course, because all of them are trying to be Conor right now.”
Bobby Lashley became a MMA pro in 2008 and has a professional record of 15-2. He has not competed since 2016, when he picked up a rear-naked choke victory over Josh Appelt at Bellator 162. That made for eight consecutive victories for the former WWE champion.
Lashley had expressed interest in joining the UFC in the past, where he could have taken his own advice toward potential superstardom. However, there were never any serious negotiations between him and the promotion.
What do you think about Bobby Lashley’s advice for Israel Adesanya and Francis Ngannou?