Sunday, May 22, 2022

Burns Comes To Same Conclusion As Chimaev About Conor McGregor

Like Khamzat Chimaev, UFC welterweight contender Gilbert Burns believes it’s feasible that Conor McGregor could jump the queue for a shot at Kamaru Usman‘s title.

McGregor, the promotion’s first simultaneous two-division champion, hasn’t been in action since UFC 264 last July. At the event, the Irishman suffered a gruesome broken leg at the end of a first round in which he was largely dominated by rival Dustin Poirier.

The injury cemented a second straight loss to “The Diamond” in 2021, leaving McGregor 1-3 in the Octagon since 2016 and ranked #9 on the lightweight ladder. While that sentence doesn’t scream number one contender, McGregor has the attributes that appear to trump all in the UFC: fame, attention, and drawing power.

As talk of McGregor’s recovery and 2022 return to action increases, as does discourse surrounding the possibility of him jumping straight back into a championship fight. While it initially appeared that would be to face the 155-pound king, the “Notorious” star revealed his intention to compete at 170 pounds last month.

With Beneil Dariush and Islam Makhachev seemingly let off the hook, a new set of contenders are now living with the Irish cloud of McGregor looming overhead. While ranked fighters would be forgiven for expressing their displeasure at the situation, rising star Chimaev would fully understand if that cloud rains on him.

“Borz” recently admitted that should Usman give the go-ahead for it to happen, he would expect the promotion to book a superfight with McGregor. Chimaev is looking to secure his own date with the champ this weekend when he shares the cage with #2-ranked contender Burns at UFC 273.

Like the Chechen-born Swede, “Durinho” has now addressed the potential arrival of McGregor into the title picture, agreeing that it’s a possibility he slips below the Dublin native in the pecking order, even with a victory over Chimaev.

Burns: McGregor Has The Power To Skip The Queue

During a recent interview with Mirror Fighting, Burns suggested that while an immediate shot at gold upon his return from injury and a two-fight skid wouldn’t make sense for McGregor, if anyone has the power to make it happen, it’s MMA’s biggest megastar.

“That guy, he has the power. If he really wants it, he can get it,” said Burns. “I don’t think he should because of the last results, he didn’t have a great performance. But he’s the kind of frickin’ guy who can make it happen.

“I don’t feel bad because I still believe that I will be fighting for the title, and yeah, it feels that it doesn’t make sense and it’s not going to happen,” added Burns. “This frickin’ guy can make it happen so we’ll see, and until that I need to try and get the title and be the guy that he’s going to face, that’s one of my goals.”

And while many believe McGregor is beyond his best and no longer has the hunger to compete at the highest level, Burns believes a successful comeback is possible, should the Irishman make some sacrifices.

“I do believe he’s got chances against a lot of guys,” Burns admitted. “But he’s got to make a change like the frickin’ Rocky Balboa movies, get out of the drinking and going out. I do believe he can, but he has to go back to the hungry Conor McGregor from back in the day, but he needs to go away to a mountain or something with his team, family, just training and relaxing.

“Someone needs to take his phone, get rid of the yes men around him and then he can come back. Other than that, if he doesn’t make a big change, I don’t think that he can do everything he did again,” concluded Burns.

One man who doesn’t anticipate a welterweight return going well for McGregor is the long-time divisional kingpin Usman. While the former lightweight and featherweight champ left UFC 264 with a broken bone, “The Nigerian Nightmare” expects a “murder” in the cage should he share it with McGregor down the line.

How would you react if Conor McGregor jumped the victor of Burns vs. Chimaev in the queue for a shot at Usman’s welterweight title?

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