UFC’s best poster in months overshadowed by the absent Conor McGregor | Les Carpenter

UFC 211 on Saturday night in Dallas promises to be something special, but the headlines continue to be about the Irishman and a fight that were likely to never happen

On Saturday night, the UFC will offer what is possibly the most appropriate card in five months with two title engages including one with rising female superstar Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Its a lineup so good that last summers lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez isnt even on the primary card.

But often of the UFC news this weekend is less about the contests at Dallass American Airlines Center and more about someone who hasnt contend in more than five months. And there is nothing to say this quandary is going to end soon. Even as the UFC thrusts on selling Stipe Miocic v Junior Dos Santos as a headliner on Saturday the headlines continue to be about Conor McGregor and a fight that might never happen.

On Thursday, UFC president Dana White told radio multitude Jim Rome that he is setting a Sunday deadline for finishing negotiations with McGregor on a possible Mayweather fight before looking to work with Mayweathers congresswomen next week. His decree was a bigger batch than anything that happened in the pre-fight discourse in Dallas, save for Fridays announcement that Jon Jones is going to meet Daniel Cormier in July. Whatever McGregor does stands as the most difficult stuff going on with Whites UFC.

Perhaps a year ago it wasnt this direction. A year ago, McGregor was just developing off his non-title loss to Nate Diaz, dulling his soaring stellar. There was also talk Ronda Rousey might recall that summer after her startling loss to Holly Holm and in many ways Rousey was always the UFCs most-compelling figure. But now, 12 months later, the UFC has been sold to corporate proprietors and White says he is certain Rouseys through after Amanda Nunes took her apart in UFC 207. This leaves McGregor as the organizations one enormous draw.

He has get big in his planned half-year hiatus and paternity leave. He tower greater than ever over the UFC, technically nursing both the UFCs lightweight and featherweight names though hes since had to return the featherweight region after beating Alvarez for the lightweight entitle in November. No fighter might better understand their leverage better and he is well aware that his only shot at a $75 m- $100 m payday is to step into a boxing reverberate with Mayweather. Until he does that, the talk around the UFC will be McGregor even if McGregor continues to sit out.

Saturday night should be a gala to seeing how deep the UFC persists. The Miocic-Dos Santos rematch is a pairing of two explosive hitters. Jedrzejczyk is a enraged fighter who has devastated her last several adversaries. Alvarez remains a skilled soldier who precisely wasnt a match for McGregor as few are.

But many of the UFC headlines at the end of this week are about Whites deadline and his confidence that they are able to pull together a McGregor-Mayweather fight .~ ATAGEND I will do the Mayweather-McGregor fight because I think he deserves it, White told CNN the coming week .~ ATAGEND On a weekend when all the narratives should be about a loaded placard, they are about a proposed fighting that White speaks will do zero pennies for the UFC.

There isnt much he can do about this unless another great sun comes along. Jones, the organizations once-great champion, is ultimately coming back from the year-long drugging suspension that devastated UFC 200. His battles with Cormier are always good recreation. But after all of Joness difficulties in recent years there is no certainty he will be the fighter he was once. Cris Cyborg has been cleared of a possible doping violation and supports predict of has become a rousing as Rousey had been. But will any of them have the panache of McGregor and Rousey? Can they produce the same mainstream plead? Can anyone?

For now, McGregor waits. He can afford to do this after taking four fights in 11 months and bearing the UFC to its immense sale before his sabbatical. Whatever he decides to do will have a huge impact on the rest of the organization. Every top male soldier within realistic distance of his load class is longing for a shot at him, knowing the only real money is in a McGregor fight. Diaz, for instance, is still on the sidelines since his 20 August rematch loss to McGregor, flouting at Whites furnishes of boxers like Alvarez.

Call me with some real shit, Diaz recently told Ariel Helwanis The MMA Hour.

For now, Diaz must stand in line with everybody else lusting for their McGregor chance as McGregor chases Mayweather money.

Meanwhile the UFC will put on a great establish Saturday night.

Is anyone paying attention?

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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