Conor McGregor is back and that means money for the UFC. It also means a lot of excitement for fans. Even if you hate him, you have to admit that he’s box office. His recent win over Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 was a savage performance.
However, the big question is who will he fight next? There are multiple possibilities out there, each with their pros and cons. Half of lightweight and welterweight would sacrifice a child to get a red panty night. Even counting title fights it’s still the most lucrative bout in the sport.
Today we’re going to analyze the most likely options and identify the man he should fight next. Who do you think the Irishman should take on?
Pros: This fight sells itself because there is such a toxic rivalry between the two men. McGregor is desperate to get that win back and will definitely put everything into a rematch with the Russian. Furthermore, it’s one of the two most lucrative bouts he could make.
Cons: Khabib is already booked to defend his title for a second time against Tony Ferguson. Win or lose he’s going to be out until the Autumn because of Ramadan. McGregor wants to fight again before then.
Verdict: 9/10. But not yet. If McGregor wins his next bout then expect it to go down before Christmas.
Pros: Masvidal is a massive hit with fans right now. ‘Street Jesus’ has a series of spectacular knockouts behind him and is very marketable. The UFC could also bring back the BMF title. In sum, this would be a mega-money clash between two big trash-talkers.
Cons: Dana White has repeatedly said he doesn’t want ‘The Notorious’ to fight Masvidal. The worry is that ‘Gamebred’ has a size and power advantage over the Irishman. A loss would be detrimental to his career.
Verdict: 6/10. McGregor is definitely open to the fight but is more interested in a run at lightweight. He has become aware of the threat of Masvidal.
Pros: ‘The Highlight’ should realistically be next in line for a 155lb title shot after Tony Ferguson. However, a title eliminator between him and McGregor would be absolute fireworks and would make sense from a rankings perspective.
Cons: Gaethje doesn’t have the name value of the other fighters on this list. It’s also very difficult to come out of a fight with him without scars. Both of these reasons are why McGregor chose to fight Donald Cerrone instead for his comeback.
Verdict: 5/10. John Kavanagh has said that this would be his preferred fight but he doesn’t have much influence over McGregor these days. If nobody else is available then this fight will happen. But otherwise, Gaethje could be sitting in no-man’s land for a while.
Pros: The chance to finally finish the trilogy. Diaz and McGregor have a great rivalry and each man has a win apiece over the other. It would be an all-action contest and a decent Segway into a Khabib contest or a Masvidal clash.
Cons: It’s not going to enhance his legacy. Critics will say that Diaz is washed up like Cerrone and that he won’t deserve a title shot. Meanwhile, Diaz is notoriously difficult to negotiate with.
Verdict: It’s a winnable fight for McGregor against a more high-profile name than Gaethje. Firas Zahabi and Michael Bisping are both behind it. 8/10.