All eyes are on MMA superstar and UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor. As reported in earlier Inquisitr articles, the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas has been booked for June 10, the latest development in a showdown between McGregor and undefeated boxing champion Floyd Mayweather. The drama between these two fighters is seemingly endless, as they continue to trade blows via social media.
Before you ask for $25M, be worth more than $25M. You have the "2" and the "5" right but you meant to say $2.5M not $25M. pic.twitter.com/07vaWF0hen
— Floyd Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) January 19, 2017
As the fight date draws nearer, people are asking who Conor McGregor’s next opponent will be, per Fox Sports. When Dana White, UFC President, was asked about the McGregor Vs. Mayweather superfight, White was quoted as saying “we’re nowhere with it.” White went on to explain that he expected McGregor to defend his lightweight strap against the winner of the Khabib Nurmagomedov Vs. Tony Ferguson fight. As reported by MMA Junkie. Nurmagomedov was forced to pull out of his bout with Ferguson just days prior to the event, citing a failed weight cut as the reason.
With the fight between Ferguson and Nurmagomedov scrapped yet again, the question remains; who will Conor McGregor fight next? Let’s examine his potential opponents:
1. Floyd Mayweather (WBC showcase)
Although the fight between McGregor and Mayweather is far from happening, the Irish superstar seems legitimately interested in stepping into the boxing ring to challenge arguably the best defensive boxer to ever live. McGregor would be the first UFC champion to crossover into the WBC and compete while still holding a title in his organization. This would be a historical moment for combat sports, as two reigning warriors clash and display their personal technique and abilities. Many consider this a money fight for McGregor, but if he approached the bout with a serious strategy, he could potentially upset the biggest name boxing has ever known and deliver Mayweather’s first loss himself.
2. Nate Diaz (UFC, lightweight title defense)
McGregor has met Nate Diaz twice in the Octagon and experienced his first loss in the organization at his hands. The two fought a second time, this time at a more natural weight in the lightweight division, where McGregor edged out a majority decision victory. Seeing as how each fighter holds a win over the other, it could be said that the two have unfinished business. The biggest factor is that Diaz actually finished McGregor in their first encounter, whereas McGregor only won the second fight on two scorecards. A third match to prove once and for all who the better fighter is could certainly be on the horizon.
3. Edson Barboza (UFC, lightweight title defense)
This highlight reel lightweight has been carving a name for himself since he first showcased his abilities in the UFC. Once a contender, Barboza suffered a series of losses throughout 2014 and 2015 that prevented him from stringing any victories together. Now riding a three-fight win streak over two former champions, Barboza KO’d his last opponent with a ridiculous flying knee that sent him flying back into title contention. A fight between McGregor and Barboza has all the ingredients to be a Fight of the Year candidate in the UFC.
4. Tony Ferguson (UFC, lightweight title defense)
Although his fight with Nurmagomedov fell through for a third time, Ferguson still rides a nine-fight win streak in the lightweight division. Regardless of Nurmagomedov’s position as the No. 2 contender, Ferguson actually walks the walk and should be considered a challenger. If McGregor respected the division, he’d recognize Ferguson’s talent and ability and give him a shot at the title.
5. Max Holloway/José Aldo (UFC, potential featherweight return)
Although McGregor holds wins over both of these fighters, Aldo and Holloway have been the loudest voices calling McGregor back to the featherweight division. The only thing holding McGregor back from reclaiming his former title is the weight cut, which his camp explained can be difficult, per MMA Mania. Holloway and Aldo are scheduled to clash at UFC 212, where they’ll unify the belt. McGregor’s return to his former division would certainly stir the pot, and he could start with a rematch with either of these fighters.
6. Frankie Edgar/Yair Rodriguez (UFC, potential featherweight return)
Edgar can be considered the bullet that McGregor dodged at featherweight, as he is seen as one of the best wrestlers in the division. Rodriguez is a flashy new up-and-comer who recently dismantled longtime legend BJ Penn. Both of these fighters employ tools that McGregor has struggled with in the past: Edgar has supreme takedown ability coupled with ruthless ground-and-pound, and Rodriguez uses unorthodox striking and movement. In McGregor’s fight with Mendes, Mendes was able to take the Irishman to the mat seemingly at will in the first round. In McGregor’s fight with Diaz, Diaz’s traditional boxing style punched a lot of holes in McGregor’s defense and eventually led to the rear-naked choke that finished him. Edgar and Rodriguez are lined up to fight at UFC 211, and if McGregor were so inclined, he could make the cut in weight and fight a fresh face, as opposed to a rematch.
There are a pile of people I’d love to see McGregor face, Khabib Nurmagomedov among them, considering he is legitimately undefeated in MMA. With the return of Georges St-Pierre in the works, per an earlier article here on the Inquisitr, he’s another fighter that McGregor should consider agitating into the Octagon. Despite the laundry list of potential opponents, McGregor remains elusive; what we can bank on is that Conor McGregor will fight again sometime in 2017.
[Featured Image by Michael Reaves/Getty Images]