In the weeks leading up to UFC 205, UFC Megastar Conor McGregor had hinted at the possibility of taking an extended break from the octagon to prepare for the birth of his first child. On May 5th, 2017, Conor and longtime girlfriend Dee Devlin welcomed their little bundle of joy, Conor Jack McGregor Jr into the world. Before the newborn was 48 hours old, he was Instagram certified and had over 50,000 followers. With the successful birth of his son now complete, here’s a look at what could possibly be next for the UFC’s main attraction.
McGregor vs. Ferguson (Most Likely)
After winning the UFC Lightweight Title in November 2016 and vacating the UFC Featherweight Title, McGregor (21-3) now has a whole new crop of opponents looking for a shot at the title.
UFC 209 was supposed to provide some clarity as to who McGregor would face upon his return, as top lightweight contenders Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson (22-3) and Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov (24-0) were set to square off in the Co-Main Event of UFC 209. After an intense weight cut and serious medical issues, Khabib was pulled from the card after failing to make weight and ending up in the emergency room. With the fight being called for that reason, many fans now see Ferguson as the rightful #1 contender for McGregor’s strap.
Such ideas as Ferguson vs. Nate Diaz have been thrown around, as fans feel Diaz should be in the conversation after his submission victory over McGregor at UFC 196 and his epic encounter with McGregor at UFC 202, which McGregor won by majority decision after 5 rounds. However, Diaz has made it clear recently that he plans to take the rest of 2017 off, and enjoy “race season” with his older brother Nick. With that being said, it appears that McGregor vs. Ferguson is inevitable and the fans will hopefully get what they want, sooner rather than later.
McGregor vs. Diaz III (Likely)
When Conor and Nate went head to head at UFC 196 in March 2016, the whole world watched as McGregor came out firing on all cylinders, landing some huge shots that usually sent the opponent to the canvas for a quick cat nap. However, Diaz with his iron chin was able to take McGregor’s best shots and kept moving forward. It appeared McGregor started to fade late in the second round and then was hit with a stunning jab-left combo that nearly put McGregor on the mat. In what seemed like a desperation move, McGregor decided to shoot for a takedown against one of the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu masters in the game. Diaz was able to complete the sprawl with McGregor before gaining full mount position and landing a couple of bombs on Conor’s head. McGregor, to avoid more punishment, gave up his back and was quickly submitted by rear-naked choke, thus handing McGregor his first loss in the UFC and giving Diaz the biggest victory of his career.
After his stunning defeat, McGregor became obsessed with the Diaz rematch and demanded it instantly. His demands were met and the two squared off once again at UFC 202 in Las Vegas. As the second fight began, it appeared that McGregor would implement a game plan that had been utilized against Diaz before. McGregor came out firing, as usual, however this time with his legs and feet, trying to chop down the sturdy base that supported Nate Diaz. As the leg kicks continued to pile up on Nate, the mobility of Diaz became stagnant and McGregor landed some huge counterpunches dropping Diaz to the canvas twice in the first round. The second round was more of the same as McGregor continued with his strategy and sent Nate to the canvas once again.
In the third round, Diaz’ durability began to show and he began to impose his will on McGregor. The fourth and fifth rounds would go on with both men exchanging shots but neither man being able to stop the other. When the dust settled, it was McGregor who was awarded the majority decision victory in one of the greatest fights in UFC history.
During his post-fight octagon interview, McGregor stated he wanted the trilogy fight with Nate, however it would now be on his terms. Terms being the trilogy would take place at 155 pounds, a weight class that McGregor is more accustomed to and a class that Diaz would have to make by weight cut. UFC President Dana White has stated that the trilogy fight is not likely, as he views Nate as a 170 pounder and can’t believe the fight happened the first two times. Diaz has said recently that he’s not interested in the trilogy fight with Conor because he feels he’s already beaten him twice. I’m sure it’s easy to claim you don’t want the fight, but it’s a lot harder to walk away when McGregor comes calling with a couple of million dollars to offer. One thing is for sure is the winner of the trilogy fight will be the fans, as it is sure to be one epic encounter, if and when it happens.
McGregor vs. Mayweather (Not Likely)
Let’s be real… This fight would sell. Regardless if you feel McGregor has a shot or not, you’re going to tune in. And like the old saying goes… “If it makes money, it makes sense.”
Both fighters have a ton of money to make if this fight eventually comes to fruition. It has been said that Mayweather stands to rake in over $100 Million while McGregor looks to make anywhere from $50 to $75 million. With numbers like this, it only fitting to refer to this bout as “The Money Fight”.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. (49-0 Boxing), has a lot to gain financially from this fight, however what he has to lose is so much more. Currently undefeated in the ring and considered by many to be the greatest boxer of all-time, Mayweather’s rich and storied legacy would also be on the line in this one. McGregor, the younger, stronger and bigger fighter has vowed to shock the whole world when he stops Floyd in the ring.
On May 6th, UFC President Dana White attended the Canelo Alvarez vs. Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. fight, a fight that Alvarez dominated and won by unanimous decision. Afterwards, White stated that McGregor and Mayweather had lost their September 16th spot at T-Mobile Arena to Canelo and Gennady Golovkin, a fight that boxing fans around the world have been waiting for. Whether the date for McGregor vs. Mayweather was actually set is up for discussion, however this sure does put a wrinkle in any plans these two had of squaring off sometime this year.
Regardless of what’s next for “The Notorious” Conor McGregor, one thing is for certain, that fans are in for a treat when he returns. When that time will be, who knows? But I’m sure it will be worth the wait.