As the UFC finally made its triumphant return last weekend in Jacksonville, Florida, the promotion’s quintessential superstar wasn’t far behind in making sure he got his share of the spotlight. Conor McGregor wasted little time in inserting himself into all the fresh UFC 249 post-fight chatter as to where Dana White and company go from here, and he did it in typical McGregor fashion: a series of expletive-laden tweets. We can’t be surprised and should have expected this from McGregor. Getting into the specifics of his tweets is unnecessary and – when you boil it down – irrelevant. All that matters is McGregor has announced his comeback and wants the limelight back. Justin Gaethje’s dismantling of Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight title threw a wrench into a lot of narratives. Many expected Ferguson to win, which would have set up a sixth attempt to book him against divisional champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Now Gaethje can be ignored no more – his victory was incredibly impressive, pummelling Ferguson relentlessly and putting a bow on the fight with a fifth-round TKO. The fact McGregor targeted Gaethje in a few of his toilet seat tweets should also come as no surprise. Gaethje vaulted himself into the UFC stardom stratosphere overnight, in a fight everyone was watching because, quite frankly, there was nothing else to watch when it came to sports. This puts White in a precarious spot. Nurmagomedov, who is observing Ramadan on lockdown in Russia, won’t be ready to fight until after the summer, so does the UFC book McGregor and Gaethje? There’s two minds when you look at this potential narrative, and both centre around the universe and gravitational pull that is the Irishman we all love to hate and hate to love. White could sure use a superstar tilt to keep the momentum going, as the next card scheduled for Wednesday in Florida (UFC Fight Night: Smith vs Teixeira) is light on star power and mass appeal. The same goes for May 17 when Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris are the headliners. Amanda Nunes defends her featherweight belt against Felicia Spencer at UFC 250 on June 6, but that card also looks a little thin. Pulling off an event under such circumstances is one thing, but people today have short memories and you can’t sell shows without stars no matter the global public health situation. You have to give White credit – he handled UFC 249 like a magician during what has become an unprecedented pandemic. He even had to pull one of his fighters from the card, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, after he and two of his corner men tested positive for Covid-19 , and was able to keep the blow back and negative press to a minimum. White’s ability to push ahead, and get two more events in Jacksonville under his belt by the end of this weekend without a massive controversy or major coronavirus outbreak, will surely quiet a lot of critics and naysayers who have been calling him reckless. But then he needs to deliver fights the mainstream masses want to watch. UFC: Khabib fires back at McGregor – ‘are you typing drunk?’ Enter McGregor, who made his triumphant return in January, brutalising Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in 40 seconds. If White grants McGregor’s apparent wish and books him in to fight Gaethje, we can expect a supercharged lead-up and some legendary sound bites from the Irishman. Not only does he have a fight to promote and an opponent to besmirch and slander, he has a global pandemic he can run his mouth off on – McGregor making headlines means money in the bank for everyone. White has a lot of directions he could go right now, but his first point of business is listening to Gaethje, who has earned his ear and the fight he wants. We all know that is Nurmagomedov. However, Gaethje took the Ferguson fight not once, but twice, on short notice, and proceeded to put on a clinic. Would he do this against McGregor? If his thrashing of Ferguson is any indication, we should not count him out, ever. He was also given a clean bill of health with no medical suspension, so could theoretically have a quick turnaround. The next week or so is a key moment in the UFC’s history. Pulling off two more shows out in the open, while the rest of the world peers from their living rooms, is a serious feather in the company’s hat. But then White needs to make a move and there is only one play here: get McGregor off Twitter and into the Octagon. Help us understand what you are interested in so that we can improve SCMP and provide a better experience for you. We would like to invite you to take this five-minute survey on how you engage with SCMP and the news.