Conor McGregor’s next fight remains the subject of much speculation all over the sports world.
McGregor, 30, remains the biggest name in all of combat sports despite having fought in exactly one mixed martial arts (MMA) bout since 2016. That lone fight was in 2018 when he fought and lost to rival Khabib Nurmagomedov in the fourth round of their championship match.
Since that now infamous showdown between hated rivals, McGregor has hinted several times that he is interested in another fight, but despite those rumblings, no potential foes have emerged.
Nurmagomedov would seem like the obvious choice for McGregor’s next fight, given the heat that exists between them and the fact that it would likely break any and all PPV combat sports records. Unfortunately, Nurmagomedov already has a championship fight scheduled against Dustin Poirer at UFC 242 in the du Arena, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Although Nurmagomedov figures to win that fight fairly easily, he is unlikely to be able to fight against until the end of 2019 – at the soonest.
So where does that leave McGregor?
Well, there is also the No. 1 ranked lightweight in the world, Tony Ferguson. Ferguson, 35, is coming off a fairly domain victory over Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone and has indicated that he is very interested in either a showdown against the champion or McGregor. The two were formerly represented by the same management group, but Ferguson has since moved on.
Ferguson would pose an interesting match-up for McGregor, but given how long the Irish champ has been out, it may be a bit too tough of a challenge for him given the stakes. If he isn’t fighting for a title, and he is not fighting a big name (which Ferguson, unfortunately, is not), then it does not make a ton of sense for him to suddenly step up and take such a massive risk.
Who does that leave at the top of the division?
Well, Justin Gaethje still needs a dance partner. Justin Gaethje, 30, is coming off a very impressive victory over Edson Barboza this past March. He is a heavy hitter who is always down to bang, and despite his impressive wrestling credentials, would likely give McGregor the stand-up bout he would no doubt prefer.
Unfortunately for Gaethje, he has much of the same issue as Ferguson. Both are huge fan favorites in the UFC and both boast tremendous fighting styles that exhilarate anyone and everyone who watches them – but neither carries much mainstream recognition.
And again, if McGregor is going to fight for something other than the title, it is going to be for big money. Realistically, it is unlikely that he will get the money he is looking for fighting someone like Gaethje. It is simply another high risk, low reward situation.
One possible alternative awaits outside the world of MMA: Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather famously defeated McGregor in 2017 by way of a 10th round stoppage with about a minute remaining. At the time of the stoppage, the scorecards read 87–83, 89–82, and 89–81 all in favor of Mayweather.
Despite the fact that Mayweather won the match handily, some fans were impressed with McGregor’s showing given that he a mixed martial arts fighter, not a boxer, by trade.owing given that he a mixed martial arts fighter, not a boxer, by trade.
Mayweather is said to have earned something in the $300 million range, whereas McGregor took home at least $100 million. Although another fight between the pair would not make a whole lot of sense for their careers, it would make both a lot of money – and fights have been put together for much worse reasons than that.
Who will McGregor ultimately end up fighting? Hopefully we will find out soon enough.