Who Will Conor McGregor Fight Next?
UFC star Conor McGregor is ready to step back into the Octagon. But who will be there to face him?
The superstar MMA fighter took a bit of a vacation from the UFC to step into the boxing ring against Floyd Mayweather Jr. Now that the hype from that fight has died down, it’s time to go back home to his roots.
McGregor performed much better than many expected against Mayweather, but now he’ll get the chance to get back to what he knows best: Knocking out dudes with a combination of his (mostly bare) fists and feet.
There are plenty of potential options for McGregor’s next fight—a rematch with Nate Diaz would be a big draw for fans, for example.
Here are seven guys McGregor could face next.
1-2. Tony Ferguson or Kevin Lee
The most likely matchup for McGregor: the winner of Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee at UFC 216, which is for the interim UFC Lightweight Championship. Both fighters would be solid opponents for McGregor, and the superstar himself already spoke about the potential for a matchup against the winner.
"There's an interim [UFC] belt on the line right now, that's an option. I'm happy they're [Ferguson and Lee] fighting," said McGregor at the An Evening with Conor McGregor event, according to MMAFighting.com. "This is what I wanted, because they're all bums at the end of the day. Make no mistake about that. I'm just happy they're fighting. I want to see them compete.”
3. Nate Diaz (for the third time)
Nate Diaz and McGregor have already had two memorable fights, so a third matchup of the fighters would be lucrative and ripe for hype. McGregor is open to the fight, and McGregor’s coaches/trainers John Kavanagh and Owen Roddy both said they prefer Diaz as McGregor’s next fight over other opponents.
"Of course, the Nate Diaz trilogy fight is there,” McGregor said. “Nate is still there waiting, but he’ll be left waiting until we figure something out.”
4. Georges St-Pierre
Georges St-Pierre remains an intriguing option for McGregor, as it would put two of the UFC’s biggest names together in the Octagon. GSP is facing off against Michael Bisping in a middleweight title fight in November, so any chance of a GSP battle would likely have to wait until that result plays out.
"It's another money fight, even though he's been retired," McGregor said. "I don't know. I think he's going to get his ass whupped by Bisping. To be honest, I think it's a mistake for him to step in at that weight after so long out."
5. Khabib Nurmagomedov
At the An Evening with Conor McGregor event in Glasgow, McGregor also mentioned lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov as a potential opponent, as well as Justin Gaethje and Eddie Alvarez, who are set to fight at UFC 218. Nurmagomedov is 24-0 in his career, while Alvarez is 28-5-1 and Gaethje is 18-0.
6. Tyron Woodley
Tyron Woodley is the UFC Welterweight Champion, so if he fought McGregor, the two would have to find some middle ground on their fighting weight. But if they could get past that, a battle would be fun to watch considering the back-and-forth feud the two have had in the past. At UFC 205 the two fighters had an interesting interaction when officials gave McGregor Woodley’s championship belt for photos—and that could add some intrigue to a potential matchup.
7. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (again)
Even though Floyd Mayweather Jr. won the much-hyped boxing match against McGregor, the two could potentially face off again despite Mayweather saying he’s now retired with a 50-0 record. McGregor appears to be open to another fight against a boxer—but this one would be in the Octagon.
"Maybe one of these boxing guys,” McGregor said. “Maybe [retired former boxing champion, Paulie] Malignaggi would come over and do an MMA bout. Maybe I could entice Floyd back. We could either do a rematch in boxing or, like he said originally, we'll do an MMA fight next. They are the options that are on the table for me right now." And if the option ever returns to the table, you can bet the cash will, too.