John Kavanagh has teased fans by suggesting Conor McGregor could replace Khabib Nurmagomedov and face Tony Ferguson at UFC 249.
The owner of Straight Blast Gym in Dublin has been with ‘The Notorious’ from the very beginning of his MMA career and the duo have been on a crazy ride together.
But stepping in and saving the April 18 card after his bitter rival can no longer attend would surely pip the lot.
The Russian returned to his native country during the outbreak of COVID-19 and was planning to return to the USA after completing his training in his native Dagestan.
However, President Vladimir Putin has since shut the borders down completely and the undisputed lightweight champion confirmed in his Instagram live video he was effectively stuck.
Despite the best efforts of Dana White to put a credible main event on and finally pit the two best 155lbs fighters against one another, it seemed dead in the water.
However, Kavanagh has seriously stoked the flames on Twitter.
Although No.4 ranked lightweight contender Justin Gaethje was reportedly leading the race to fight Ferguson at UFC 249, it seems as though McGregor could well play a part now.
Respected MMA journalist Ariel Helwani asked fans to vote for one of two options regarding how the company proceeds in light of Khabib’s comments; either pit Ferguson against Gaethje or wait for the coronavirus to simmer down.
However, Kavanagh cheekily noted: “Maybe there is a third option…”
Should the UFC manage to book McGregor against Ferguson, it would surely be for the interim lightweight title and the winner would face Nurmagomedov at the earliest possible convenience.
For those discrediting this Tweet as simply coincidental, it is worth noting Kavanagh took the unusual steps to announcing to his followers on Twitter the Straight Blast Gym in Dublin was closed to the public back in November.
Just two months later, McGregor was back in the octagon and it became clear he had dropped a huge hint about the former two-weight world champion without people realising.
This is the fifth time in five years the UFC have tried to book Khabib vs Ferguson and the fifth time a freak occurrence has denied fans the chance to watch two of the best lock horns.
But after speaking to Dana White, it appears the Irishman feared history would repeat itself and so he specifically fought at welterweight against Donald Cerrone in his comeback so he could make a quick turnaround if needs be.
“Here’s the thing — realistically, Conor believes that Khabib vs. Tony Ferguson will not happen,” White told TMZ Sports ahead of UFC 246.
“We’ve tried to do this fight many, many times. Conor believes it won’t happen.
“Conor wanted to do this fight at 170 because he wants to turn right around and jump right in and fight Khabib if that fight doesn’t happen.”