UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor has yet to fight again in the Octagon since defeating Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 last year. After losing to Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match, McGregor revealed his plan to return to the UFC and make his first title defense.
Following McGregor’s announcement, several rumors are swirling regarding his next opponent. If “The Notorious” is looking for another huge payday, Nate Diaz would be a wise option. Diaz is currently in a negotiation to fight UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley at UFC 219.
However, he’ll only fight Woodley if the UFC will pay him $15 million. Diaz’s boxing coach, Richard Perez, revealed that the promotion isn’t willing to give in to their demand. Perez said that Diaz could fight Conor McGregor instead of Woodley.
“The UFC doesn’t want to give Nathan the money,” Perez said. “You know, ’cause what Woodley’s trying to do, he’s trying to get his name up there and he wants to fight the best, so he wants to fight Nathan. But UFC doesn’t want to pay Nathan, so why fight him? We can fight McGregor (instead).”
However, for the fight to happen, Nate Diaz will need to go down to the lightweight division. Conor McGregor is currently prioritizing his first title defense as the UFC light champion. If he fails to defend his title again, the UFC will likely take away another belt from him.
For coach John Kavanagh, there is only one fight that makes sense for “The Notorious” — a title unification bout against UFC lightweight interim champion Tony Ferguson.
“Tony is the interim champion, Conor is the champion, it’s the fight that makes sense,” Kavanagh said. “It’s the fight that has to happen.”
After Conor McGregor took the throne, Tony Ferguson has been patiently waiting for his opportunity to fight for the title. When “The Notorious” decided to take a break, the UFC scheduled a match between him and Khabib Nurmagomedov for the interim title. Unfortunately, Nurmagomedov pulled out from the fight after being hospitalized due to the ill-effects of his weight cut.
At UFC 216, Ferguson finally became the interim champ after defeating Kevin Lee via third-round submission. Now that the interim belt is wrapped around Ferguson’s waist, Conor McGregor has no choice but to fight him and unify the title. “El Cucuy” will undeniably be a dangerous opponent for McGregor.
Aside from being on a 10-fight winning streak, Ferguson is good at ground fighting, which is McGregor’s weakness. However, Ferguson should first survive McGregor’s incredible striking force. Coach John Kavanagh revealed that McGregor’s hands “are going to be a lot better,” adding that he’s excited to see him use it in the Octagon.
[Featured Image by Michael Reaves/Getty Images]