Whether his peers like it or not, Conor McGregor is a man who will always be able to command a big fight.
This is despite the Irishman never defending a UFC title – he was the featherweight and lightweight champion at one point – and only ever fighting three times at lightweight and appearing for four bouts in the past four years.
However, what the UFC really care about is money – and he makes them a lot of it.
He’s the biggest draw in the history of the sport by a country mile. Seven shows he has headlined reside in UFC’s top 10 highest grossing shows ever, including the top three.
So despite a loss to Dustin Poirier in his most recent octagon appearance, who could be in the running to face him next?
According to UFC president Dana White, McGregor is obsessed with fighting Poirier for a third time and completing the trilogy between the two.
McGregor won via first-round knockout in 2014 but lost at UFC 257 in January with a second round knockout.
McGregor feels he has learned his lessons from that loss and wants to redeem himself. UFC are motivated to oblige him as this card had the joint second biggest buy rate in UFC history along with McGregor vs Diaz II.
Speaking of trilogies, having that rubber match with Diaz is always on the table for McGregor.
These two collided twice in 2016 and, again so with it at 1-1, finishing this rivalry makes sense. Diaz doesn’t like what he sees as McGregor’s preferential treatment from UFC bosses and, given the war of words between the two has never died down, big money awaits.
And the younger Diaz brother is always up for a scrap.
This would be an all-out slugfest that would have zero chance of going the distance.
Gaethje has called McGregor out several times previously, but it was McGregor who was demanding the fight after he defeated Tony Ferguson last May, which led to a title fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Dana White refused because he believed Gaethje had already earned his shot at the champion. Gaethje went on to lose that contest and hasn’t fought since, while McGregor is also coming off a loss. Could make sense to see who gets back in the mix?
Even though Ferguson once had a remarkable 12-fight win streak in UFC, the fact he never crossed paths with Khabib Nurmagomedov – despite trying five times – or McGregor sticks out.
Ferguson is coming off two humbling losses and the matchup itself would bring a great lustre.
UFC would make money and it would still count as a big win for either man. It makes a lot of sense at this stage.
McGregor called Felder out while on a interview rampage following his quick victory over Donald Cerrone in January 2020, but no one really took it too seriously.
Still, when you think about how attractive but winnable that Cerrone fight was for McGregor, if he wants to be active, starting with Felder wouldn’t be a bad move.
It’s dangerous. Felder is no joke and it would be a strike fest. But, with the Irish connotations to the rivalry, it would make for an interesting build-up where you know the fight would deliver. Not a bad option is McGregor looks outside the very top of the division.